SC restaurant owner cuts business hours due to lack of ‘good help’

OKATIE, SC (WSAV) – An Okatie restaurant owner is the latest in the hospitality industry to change his hours due to a shortage of employees.

Tony Herndon, owner of Joe Loves Lobster, said the struggle to find good help isn’t due to a lack of affordable housing or transportation as others have suggested, but the change in work ethic among the people who apply.

“It’s their ability to perform, their ability to come in on time, or at all,” Herndon said. “Just their entire work ethic is not there.”

Herndon has managed his restaurant for five years and said the change in the workforce was noticeable about a year ago. He pays his employees $8 an hour. Add in tips, and he said they average between $15 to $20 an hour.

However, Herndon said his cameras have proved that’s not good enough.

“I’ve caught people stealing. I’ve caught them adding tips that people weren’t putting in,” Herndon claimed.

Herndon is now operating the place solely with his daughter.  He’s cutting back his hours considerably and focusing more on catering and festivals.

The restaurant owner adds that his customers come from all over the nation and world and they tell the same stories of worker shortage from places they represent.

“I don’t blame it on Bluffton, HIlton Head, or Beaufort. It’s nothing against this area. But it’s my situation and it’s really tough here to get good help. I can’t believe anyone would open a business here based on getting good help. It doesn’t make sense to me at all,” Herndon expressed.

The restaurant’s Facebook page says the eatery will be open only 15 days throughout the month of October, but Joe Loves Lobster will have a spot at the Myrtle Beach Seafood Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday.