Reopening Guides:


Now that we’re fully open, you need employees to come back to work. The workforce shortage is poised to be the next big challenge for the hospitality industry.

This toolkit is designed to give you ideas on enticing employees back into hospitality. We’ll keep adding resources as we go along, so check back often.

[Replay] CEO Podcast: Dissecting the workforce shortage

Listen to Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton discuss the reasons for the worker shortage and ideas to help you find employees, including recruiting tactics, optimizing your operating hours and looking at your culture. You can find his slides here: 2021 Workforce Crisis

During his July podcast, Anton discussed ideas for recruiting new employees. You can watch the replay here.

Minor employees can temporarily work back-of-the-house in 21+ establishments

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced an expansion of the labor pool. Effective immediately, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old employees may perform back-of-house work in restricted liquor establishments now through September 30, 2021. Click here to read more.

Job search requirements for unemployment recipients

Washingtonians receiving unemployment benefits are required to search for jobs. The job search requirement was temporarily waived during the pandemic because many workers were furloughed or simply had nowhere to go. New and existing claimants now have to search and be able and available, for work to receive benefits. Read more here.

Letters to recall employees

The law firm of Fisher & Phillips created these sample letters for you to send your employees you wish to recall. You can download them here.

Recruiting like a marketer in a post coronavirus labor landscape

Help Wanted signs and Craigslist ads don’t measure up. Countless hours and resources have been invested to perfect marketing strategies that work. Attracting customers and attracting talent are remarkably similar. How can we co-opt these developed strategies toward restaffing? Click here to read more.

Culture and staff engagement

People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. A 2019 cross-industry workplace study learned that 94% of responders stay longer in jobs where they feel recognized, valued, and invested. Turnover is expensive, the average cost-per-restaurant-employee is over $5,000. Investing the effort into staff engagement goes beyond total compensation (pay + benefits). It’s about balancing the hard science of economics with the soft science of humanities–which ultimately reinforces the economics. Click here to read more.


Your employees may be looking for various benefits to go along with their job—something they don’t get with unemployment benefits. We have partners who offer low-cost or free-to-you benefits.

  • Teledoc: Employees can have virtual access to medical professionals and prescriptions.
  • UnitedHealth Group mental health services: Employees can access mental health professionals, including crisis text lines, substance abuse helplines and access to Sanvello, an app for stress, anxiety and depression.
  • HIHIT: The Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Trust is designed to give small employers access to affordable medical plans.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Employees can receive help for marital problems, stress, job pressure, grief and loss, substance abuse and more.
  • Alice: This is a flexible spending account for your employees. They can contribute to it and use it for medical visits, dental, vision, birth control, childcare, commuter fees and more When the employee uses Alice, the employer saves 8% in payroll taxes. The employer and Alice split the payroll savings.
  • Passport Unlimited: As Washington Hospitality Association members, you and your employees have access to this program that connects you with discounts at local and national chains.
  • Office Depot purchasing card: As Washington Hospitality Association members, you and your employees can use this card for 50% off printing services, 30% off collating and folding and discounts on other supplies.

Reach out to your territory manager for more information about these programs.