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Friday, December 9, 2016

Service in the Wine Country Not So Great?

Have you visited the area this past year or are you planning a visit? Has the customer service at a hotel, restaurant or winery not been up to the standards you'd hoped? If you have had experienced this you might wonder why a region dependent on tourism wouldn't be at their best.

It's the economy.

The current labor market is steaming along. People are visiting in record numbers. The unemployment rate in both Sonoma and Napa Counties is under 4%. Places like the little tourist town of Calistoga in Napa, pop. 5,000, has an unemployment rate of under 1% (and a median home price of $850,000).

The typical hospitality jobs in these hotels, restaurants, and wineries pay somewhere between minimum wage and $18/hr. And the upper end of that range is fairly new -- a product of the current economic conditions. Still, most people can find something better so there is a significant labor shortage in the hospitality field. A shortage of staffing means they work harder, but you still get less service.  It seems like every other small retail store in the area has a "help wanted" sign out.

We apologize if you have to wait a bit longer than you'd like. 

Labor shortage challenges article from the Press Democrat