Far-Reach Problems Rock Iconic Hawaii Restaurants And Visitors

Wide-Ranging Problems Rock Iconic Hawaii Restaurants & Visitors

Troubles mount across Hawaii restaurants including legal, staffing, inflation, food, shipping, opening hours, and more.

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37 thoughts on “Wide-Ranging Problems Rock Iconic Hawaii Restaurants & Visitors”

  1. This is exactly why we stay at Westin Nanea which has a full sized kitchen and laundry in each unit. We’ve been traveling to Hawaii since 1999 and we’ve ditched hotels that have no kitchen. We love looking around the island for fresh local foods and then learning how to cook it. We have saved thousands of $ by buying local groceries and using one of the many outdoor grills at Nanea to eat fresh seafood daily. People just don’t know how to travel smart.

  2. Thank you for sharing the issues that Hawaii restaurants are currently facing. We will heed your suggestions on confirming their hours of operation before venturing out. Mahalo🙏

  3. While I appreciate your reporting this disturbing news it is also important to highlight the underlying problem in Hawaii. Tourism is both the lifeblood and the poison of the islands. Visitors must be prepared to spend a little more to enjoy paradise. Politicians must do more to protect small businesses and the indigenous population. I have friends on kauai and fortunate to have visited often most recently 8/22. It’s about time controlled visits with fees in place to protect fragile eco. Yes cost more but small price to protect a US treasure. Hawaii should be placed on unesco list.

  4. This has been happening in tourist areas for years now. The rents are too high for food service workers to afford, so many areas cannot attract help without providing housing, which of course is impossible in Hawaii. One thing many restaurants transitioned into: you order your food and drinks before you sit down… which streamlines how many employees they need. Might be an option for now at least

  5. Perhaps if the restaurant owners treated staff fairly and stopped stealing wages???
    Sounds like they made their bed. Time to shut it down, and start with fair honest employers.

  6. It isn’t just food prices. It is the cost of everything. Hawaii used to be very affordable for everyone. No longer is this the case. Gas and food prices I get to a degree. But the add on fees to 99% of hotels in Waikiki and parking fees and car rental fees, where the taxes often exceed the daily car rental price alone. Add $120 a day before you pay airfare and the cost of your room. Just the fees and taxes if you rent a car for your whole stay, which I always have will be $125 to $150 a day, plus the average cost of a room $150 a day or more and airfare.

    I have been to the islands 26 times living in LA, since 1986. But not since 2013. I am sure my last trip will surely be my last, because of the incredibly expensive place it has become. M

  7. We just returned from the Big Island and wait times was longer than usual at most popular restaurants. But then again it was Ironman week in Kailua-Kona…but restaurants were complaining of being short staffed too.

  8. I worked in the service industry in the late 1960’s and the issues being addressed here were the same. We had to sleep in shifts, but at least we got fed. With tears in my eyes, I had to move back to the Mainland. During the years have visited as much as possible, but unfortunately now, it has priced me out. Aloha

  9. This maybe a problem everywhere in the mainland but here in hawaii especially the outer islands housing plays a big part in staff shortages. Alot of food and beverage workers was at one point transplants and locals seeing a 1 or 2 day aweek job. With a single room costing $1300 a month transients wanting to live and work in “paradise” is not a option. Hopefully one day there will be a balance in housing and wages.

    1. CL, I agree with your comment. I’m not seeing the young people, who were obviously from the the mainland, working on Maui at all. Housing is scarce and has skyrocketed. This seems to be happening everywhere, but is really apparent here.

      BOH, thanks for another interesting article.


  10. Always love Hawaii. How about island restaurants offering vacationers help while visiting, discount on food, joint partnership discount with hotels. Stay 7 days, work 4 part-time days or work 2 fulltime days. Cruise ships do it… Just saying.. Get temporary help in to give regular employees off time to avoid overtime, staff key lots use vacationers on meanial slots. Wait staff to paramedics let’s do it.

  11. Aloha, not only an island problem, but the mainland too. For years many of the troubles mentioned here from violating laws to finding good help have become problematic. The market has turned from “employer market” to “employees market” and some big businesses have yet to catch on. Inflation, the uh, thing thay happened 2 years ago and supply shortages have driven consumer costs up enough where many believe it is better to remain unemployed, low employed or simply working under the table. Taxes climb, insurance climbs, commuting costs have skyrocketed and the employer must meet the needs of employees by raising prices to pay for good help. Sadly, this domino effect won’t go away soon. The 70s took 5 years to recover from. Mahalo

  12. The one thing we noticed on our trip this month was the increase in prices at restaurants. We stay at our timeshare so we usually only eat out in the evening, and consider carefully when we order. We didn’t have the problems getting reservations as we did last year, but some of our favorites are sadly gone.

  13. We are currently on Kauai and understand everything you are saying. We check a restaurant in person day of before going. They often don’t have time to update Facebook or web site. We have found mostly reasonable wait times, and many very hard working wait staff and hosts. You just need to be flexible and patient. Mahalo for your advice.

    1. Spot on. Please be patient and don’t take it out on staff. The ones that are working deserve our support and generosity.

    1. I think that’s only part of the problem. I also think people had time to think about their lives during the pandemic, and moved on to other jobs. Working in the service industry can be rough, especially when dealing with selfish and irate customers at times.


  14. Aloha!
    I was on the Big Island last week. I made reservations at Browns Beach House through Open Table. They have the same $50 per person cancellation fee if cancelled within several hours of the reservation and required a credit card. Also, I received way more email and text reminders than normal. The restaurant seemed to be adequately staffed but I observed that they were being very careful about seating people only at their reservation times and I’m sure there were no walk-ins allowed! We also ate at Pueos Osteria up in Waikoloa Village. They did not require a credit card but we did get several text reminders prior to the reservation. Our reservation was at 5:30 and we arrived early. The restaurant opens at 5 and it was already packed.

  15. This is just sad what covid restrictions, etc has done to Hawaii. I’m afraid that this country will never be the same. Why can’t people go back to working?

  16. Love the macaroni grill $2 fee. We did that so we didn’t have to raise prices lol. That’s like buying a car and adding in a inflation fee of 5k and saying you are paying msrp. Actually they do that lol nitro in tires really?

    1. You forgot the Mandatory tire inflation monitoring systems now. Tire shops have to have special equipment to manipulate them.

  17. Mahalo Beat of Hawaii for your always fantastic insights!
    I felt compelled to share my experience with Kimos on Maui. My Ohana had come to visit and we made reservations for dinner on Open Table, at 7pm. Arrived early and checked in. We waited as others walked right in without a reservation. At 7:45 they had a table, told me that since Open Table gets a cut they don’t like guests using it. We all felt punished.The service was good, food mediocre. It was embarrassing to feel unwanted and a lesser customer.

    1. Hi Pam.

      Thanks for your input on Maui restaurants. Interesting about Open Table, and in fact we had a look at how much they charge just this week. If a restaurant doesn’t like it, they sure don’t need to be there. In any event, a group of us are heading out tonight and we remain hopeful that it will yield a good report.

      Have a good weekend!


  18. Thanks for the great info. Coming in 2 weeks and can’t wait. We love Hawaii. It’s been to long! I feel for all these places struggling to get back to the “norm”. We live in Arizona and it’s the same here. Everything is open but staffing is terrible. People just need to realize you are there for a good time. Enjoy each other and be patient. Looking forward to it! Love reading your website and always enjoy news about one of the most beautiful places!

    1. Hi Doreen.

      Thanks for those nice words and for your comments. Yes, it’s interesting to hear how things are working in AZ and other places.


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