Restaurant sign blaming ‘government handouts’ for staff shortage stirs controversy

Restaurant sign blaming ‘government handouts’ for staff shortage stirs controversy (Courtesy: Twitter/@DRHegedus)
Restaurant sign blaming ‘government handouts’ for staff shortage stirs controversy (Courtesy: Twitter/@DRHegedus) (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a popular Jacksonville pizza chain says their corporate offices did not approve of, nor do they believe in, a message on the door of one of their Georgia franchises, criticizing people who receive unemployment for not working.

The sign, posted on Twitter early Friday morning, reads: “Sadly, due to government handouts no one wants to work anymore. Therefore, we are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did choose to come to work today and remember to tip your server. They chose to show up to serve you.”

Social media users criticized the sign and quickly pointed out the various V Pizza restaurants also received more than $2 million in PPP loans from the federal government. The owner of V Pizza said it was able to re-hire workers that were laid off earlier in the pandemic after receiving the assistance.

The owner of the franchise, Paul Scott, who opened his first storefront in San Marco, said the message does not reflect his feelings about ongoing struggles to find workers as businesses begin re-opening.

He told our sister station News4Jax the sign was posted by the owner of a franchise location in Georgia. Scott said he asked the franchise to remove the sign after learning about it on social media.

“That sign and the wording with it, there’s so much wrong with it,” said Scott. “But, the one truth of the sign is everyone is having a hard time hiring because the reality is what we can pay our staff, you know, typically one of our staff members makes $14-$15 an hour, if a person is sitting home and they have children that they’ve got to put in daycare and they’re able to get almost as much money staying at home and keeping their kids versus daycare. Nobody blames a person for making a smart decision for their family.”