Published January 13, 2015
This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," October 14, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Help wanted! Slowly, but surely, shops and restaurants in the Big Easy are getting back to business. But a severe labor shortage is threatening their chances of survival.
My next guest is struggling to find workers and keep the ones he currently has. Joining us now is Scott Boswell. He's the head chef and owner of Stanley's and Stella restaurants in New Orleans (search).
Scott, welcome to the program.
SCOTT BOSWELL, OWNER, STANLEY'S RESTAURANT: Thank you.
VARNEY: Can you not keep the workers you have got? Are they leaving you to go someplace else, for more money? Is that what's happening?
BOSWELL: Well, I mean, you know, we had Stella Restaurant, which we closed right before the storm. And then we opened Stanley right after the storm. The thing is, we went from a fine dining to a hamburger restaurant.
And now all the fine dining restaurants that are reopening, there are so few talented cooks here in the city that, you know, it's pretty much, everyone's struggling and fighting over the labor there is and paying money that no one has ever seen in New Orleans.
VARNEY: Well, yes. Come down the food chain a little bit to the dishwasher and, you know, hands-on, sort of way down there. I mean, what are you paying a dishwasher these days?
BOSWELL: It went from $6 to $12 an hour literally overnight.
VARNEY: Can you make a profit in your restaurant paying dishwashers $12 an hour, and waiters and other staff more, I suspect?
BOSWELL: I'm not making any money right now.
I'm just trying to survive and preserve what I had before, you know, with the hopes of, you know, when all this is over and we get through the challenges that we have ahead of us, that it's going a great new beginning. It's going to be a very difficult struggle, because each day doesn't seem to get any better.
VARNEY: You don't see more people on the streets? You don't see more people coming into your restaurant?
BOSWELL: I see people coming in.
I mean, I have got tons of people to feed. It's just, I have got no help to feed them. I'm working 18 hours a day. My mother is working there. My fiancee is washing dishes. We just got a brand new dishwasher to switch from paper plates to china. And we don't have anyone to wash the dishes to change.
VARNEY: Well, what you are facing, obviously, is a clear labor shortage. There are just no people to do the work. There's not much really you can do about it, is there?
BOSWELL: Well, there's no places for labor to live, either.
I mean, a lot of the people that I had on staff lost everything. They lost their homes. They lost all of their possessions. There's not a whole lot of reason for them to stay. You know, this is where I'm from. If I'm going to start over, I might as well start over here, than somewhere else.
VARNEY: Are you going to keep going, though? Are you going to stick to it, keep at it, work those 18-hour days and see this thing through?
BOSWELL: Until I take my last breath. I'm here for the long haul.
VARNEY: Now, when do you think you might be open fully, both restaurants, Stella and Stanley? When do you think they might be fully open fully staffed? Any time frame on that?
BOSWELL: Well, Stella was rescheduled to open mid-September.
My contractor has the same problems I have. He can't get subcontractors. So, now he is telling me, we might be able to open half of that restaurant by Christmas.
And, as much as it saddens me, even if we did open in the next four weeks, I don't know where I would have staff to do both restaurants. Stanley is open pretty much for breakfast and lunch. We would like to open for early dinner, but, right now, there's just not enough people to do it.
VARNEY: I understand, you have got your wife and your mother-in-law washing dishes in your restaurant. Is that correct?
BOSWELL: Actually, it's my fiancee and my mother.
My mother has to leave tomorrow. But my fiancee's father is flying from Florida. And he's going to help out as long as he can.
VARNEY: Well, you're in a tough situation, clearly. But we wish you the very best of luck.
BOSWELL: Thank you. Thank you very much. We're going to do it, man.
VARNEY: You will. Scott Boswell, good luck to you, sir.
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