One Menlo Park restaurant owner is trying a new tactic to help address the Silicon Valley restaurant worker shortage, due largely to the high cost of housing.
Jason Kwan, who owns Jason’s Cafe, Chef Kwan’s and Yum Cha Palace in Menlo Park, said he began this year to rent a nearby apartment for four of his employees who work at his newest restaurant in town, Yum Cha Palace.
At his various businesses, he said, he has more than 50 employees, many of whom live relatively nearby, such as in Mountain View and Palo Alto. But for four of his most needed employees who live far away, he has offered them a spot in an apartment to sleep in after work hours.
This way, they don’t have to make the grueling commute from their residences in Stockton, Sacramento or San Francisco each day.
They stay in the apartment for four or five days, he said, before returning home.
He said having them nearby makes it easier to run the new restaurant, which closes each day at 10:30 p.m. – on the later side for a city known for going dark around 9.
People who have to drive hours each day to get to work may quit, he said.
He declined a request to interview some of these employees because he said they do not speak English.
Yum Cha Palace opened in January at the former Su Hong restaurant site at 1039 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. It is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
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