Video Michael Speaking to the news Hawaii employers struggle to find workers


by: Nikki Schenfeld Posted: May 22, 2021 / 06:11 PM HST / Updated: May 22, 2021 / 06:18 PM HST

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Employers around Hawaii are struggling to find workers.

Retail, restaurants and hotels are the top industries in need of hires.

[Hawaii’s Breaking News–Download the FREE KHON2 app for iOS or Android]

Many say the federal plus up is a huge reason many are not returning to work. They are hopeful that Hawaii’s unemployment criteria now requires the unemployed to apply for at least three jobs per week.

Tiki’s Bar and Grill in Waikiki is in need of a dozen workers for the first time in years.

“It’s really interesting with the governor’s announcement, we’re encouraged on the way things are going, but it’s not happening fast enough, for us, I have over 10 positions open and we’re having a really hard time even having people come in and apply for the jobs,” explained Tiki’s director of operations Michael Miller.

Miller said the popular restaurant is in need of hosts, bussers, waiters, cooks and managers.

“It still seems like a lot of people don’t want to come or get to work,” he said.

“We lost a lot of residents to states that opened sooner, we lost a lot of employees to Florida, and we lost some workers to other industries such as construction, so we’re hurting,” Miller explained. “And the business is here for us, now we just have to find some great people who want to go to work.”

Industry leaders say there are other reasons people are not ready to go back to work, including the $300 federal plus up, personal schedules, childcare and wanting to work from home.

“Especially if they’re on an hourly wage, you know [the federal plus up] might be more than what the paycheck is that they’re bringing home if they were to work part time or whatever,” explained Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president.

Others say restrictions like social distancing, shorter hours and not being at 100% occupancy are also factors.

“Restaurants were hurt hard and now that they can open back up, they still can’t have a full house,” explained Beth Busch, Workforce Job Fairs executive director. “So, if a waiter works on tips, that’s probably not going to be as lucrative as it was before.”

Workforce held a virtual job fair on Wednesday, May 19. Busch said the number of interviews was promising and believes the reinstated unemployment criteria pushed more people to find jobs sooner.

“We had 567 interviews, and that’s a lot, that’s excellent,” she said.

She says employers are offering huge incentives too.

“I have seen flexible schedules, sign-on bonuses, higher wages, better benefits, everybody is competing, and they’re doing whatever it is they need to do to try to draw candidates in,” she explained.

She said she has seen hundreds to even thousands of dollars in sign-on bonuses being offered.

Highlight video of Tiki's Grill & Bar - Michael

Highlights of Tiki's Grill & Bar.

MAHALO to our partners at Y Hata for producing this video!

Our History: Tiki's was started by three friends from the University of Hawaii who wanted to open a restaurant where they could hang out and bring their friends and family. We all still live here and spend most of our waking hours in or near the restaurant.

Our Specialties Tiki's Grill & Bar is Waikiki's locally owned and operated independent restaurant destination. We provide a casual American and Pacific-Rim menu with flavors of the islands, using fresh local produce. We also offer lanai seating with beautiful sunset views of the famous Waikiki Beach.

About Y.Hata:
Three generations and countless tons of dry, chilled and frozen products later, Yoichi Hata’s dream continues. Today, Y. Hata distinguishes itself as the most innovative, forward thinking foodservice distributor in the State of Hawaii. Our hardware has been completely upgraded; and the latest, most sophisticated software has been installed.

Hawaii Restaurant Association "Holiday For Heroes " Interview on KITV4

KITV Morning News Anchor/Reporter Lara Yamada, hosted a segment about “Holiday for Heroes” event, talking about the event was Hide Sakurai and Chef Masa Gushiken of Bread + Butter and Michael Miller with Tiki’s Grill & Bar.

The holidays are nearly upon us and the Hawaii Restaurant Association [HRA] executive team and its members cordially invite those in the restaurant and food service industry, their guests, and food-lovers everywhere to come celebrate at this year’s HRA holiday party.
“Holiday for Heroes” will recognize the outstanding achievements and commitments of individuals in the restaurant and food service industry and honor them for their invaluable contribution to the Hawaii community.

Friday, December 11th, 2015 from 5:30 pm till 9:30 pm join the HRA at the new
Bread + Butter Restaurant located at 1585 Kapiolani Blvd. next to Shokudo. With its open ambiance and must-experience menu options, Bread + Butter has quickly become the talk of the town for the foodie community. The evening promises to be a culinary experience to be remembered featuring the creations of Executive Chef Arnoldo “Masa” Gushiken. An array of other HRA member restaurants will add to the evening’s culinary lineup at food stations throughout the restaurant.

Festivities will include great bites with multiple food stations and wine options, cocktails, networking, live music by Son Caribe Band, and a canned food drive and raffle to benefit Aloha Harvest.

Prizes this year include apparel by Kit and Ace, gift certificates to The Moana Surfrider, Roy’s, Outback Steakhouse, and much more. The evening’s featured grand prize is an exclusive dinner experience at Fleetwood’s On Front Street in Maui including a special meet and greet with Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, round trip airline transportation to Maui courtesy Island Air and a stay at The Royal Lahaina Resort.

Early presale is highly encouraged as tickets to this event are limited. Tickets include admission, food and two drink tickets.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association’s “Holiday For Heroes” Friday, December 11, 2015

5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Bread + Butter, 1585 Kapiolani Boulevard

$40 / HRA Members - $50 / General Admission
Limited Tickets Available Online at Portion of Proceeds To Benefit: Hawaii Restaurant Association and Aloha Harvest

 About The Hawaii Restaurant Association:

The Hawaii Restaurant Association is the organization unifying, representing and supporting the Hawaii restaurant and food service industry since 1947. The HRA mission is to provide exceptional value through membership benefits, industry advocacy, community involvement, educational resources and networking opportunities.

For more information about the Hawaii Restaurant Association go to: or call 808-944-9105.

About Aloha Harvest:

Aloha Harvest is a non-profit organization that rescues quality, donated food and delivers it “free of charge” to social service agencies feeding the hungry in Hawai‘i.

Aloha Harvest has collected and distributed over 15 million pounds of food, which now includes quality perishable and non-perishable foods, as well as beverages. The food has been donated by over 875 participating donors, of which 280 are currently active, such as restaurants, caterers, government facilities, hotels, food distributors, businesses and others.

For more information or make a donation to Aloha Harvest go to or on Facebook at