The pasta guy failed to show up for his Navé shift, no phone call; a sous chef had to jump into the role. Both restaurants have been short on full-time help for so long in the dish room that managers are starting to bargain and cajole about who deserves a dishwasher just to get through weekend brunch service. Beltran wants Navé open seven days a week but doesn’t have the bodies to make it work.
Tourism is roaring back in Miami, vaccines and easing coronavirus restrictions filling restaurants and reservation books again. There is pent-up enthusiasm to dine out, even to splurge on Beltran’s 14-course tasting menu. The days of only six customers in the dining room, of hustling to find any revenue stream — turning his third restaurant, Chug’s Cuban Diner, into a bodega selling basic groceries, offering cocktail kits to go, launching a pop-up seafood shack — seem to be in the past.
But Beltran faces an unexpected new threat. He can’t find anywhere near enough bussers, prep cooks, line cooks, bartenders, servers.