Business Insider: A pizza chain owner says there needs to be higher wages and more empathy offered to workers in the restaurant sector

By Zahra Tayeb
Business Insider, Feb 19, 2022

The owner of a pizza chain said he's not concerned about the ongoing labor shortage in the US. Michael Lastoria, CEO of &pizza, a restaurant chain in Washington, DC, told Insider that a "shortage of imagination" is the real problem facing the US. ...

According to Lastoria, the pandemic highlighted issues about the restaurant industry, in particular, which have remained unsolved for decades. These problems include low wages, lack of benefits, dangerous working conditions and the cyclical nature of firing and re-hiring staff when convenient for employers, he said. ...

At &pizza, however, there is almost no sign of a labor shortage, according to Lastoria. People are eager to work at the chain "because of the culture and basic respect for their humanity," the CEO said. 

Last year, the company opened 18 new locations and plans to open 35 more this year. ...

Lastoria has previously spoken out about persistent pay issues in the restaurant industry. In an interview with Insider last year, he discussed his determination to pay a decent wage. 

He stressed that by ensuring workers are paid a proper living wage and treated with dignity and empathy, it's perfectly possible to put an end to the chaos and disruption surrounding the US labor market.

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