Ocean Beach restaurant offers $200 bonus to new hires

Posted at 2:32 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 20:50:05-04

SAN DIEGO -- An Ocean Beach restaurant struggling to hire workers is offering new hires a $200 bonus if they stay for at least two months.

Martin Robles and Bruno Elias opened the takeout only fried-chicken shop called Chickenheadz on Newport Avenue in February after each spent a decade at Hodad's down the street. The two have been working 12 to 15 hour days and have hired three other employees, but that's still not enough staffing to remain open past 10 or 11 p.m.

"With these bars being open, there's potential to get a little more love at the end of the night for our small business that we just opened," Robles said. "At this point, we're like two, two and a half months in, every dollar counts."

Chickenheadz would like to add another three or four workers, but Robles said that has been very challenging.

"We've had a few people come, a few people go, quite a few people not show up," he said.

Restaurant owners across the county have reported difficulty hiring, despite unemployment elevated at 7.2 percent.

Federal stimulus is boosting unemployment checks by $300 a week, and COVID risk remains elevated for service workers.

Jobs at Chickenheadz pay $14 hour - minimum wage - plus tips - but Robles is also upping the offer.

"Come and work for us, give us some time, we will definitely give you a $200 dollar bonus incentive," Robles said.

Robles said workers would get the bonus after two months on the job, which also comes with free food from the restaurant.