Desperate hospitality venues are offering Australians bonuses to ditch Covid disaster payments or JobSeeker as they emerge from lockdown, with borders opening creating a surge of customers.
Chefs, waiters, bar staff and even dishwashers are being offered one-off cash payments of thousands of dollars in addition to regular paychecks in a bid to attract workers.
George Pompei from Pompei pizza and pasta restaurant in Bondi is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus after struggling to find willing staff, with applicants preferring to stay on JobSeeker payments.
Pompei at Bondi (pictured) is offering a $2,000 bonus to new staff as the pizza restaurant heads into the busy summer period
'Out of three applicants who we actually spoke to over the phone, nobody has turned up for an interview,' he told The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Pompei explained he relies on working-holiday visa holders to backup his permanent staff and fill his roster.
But because of border closures he is so short of staff he's had to close on Mondays and stop lunch service on Tuesdays to Thursdays.
'We're heading to our really busy period in summer... this is really impacting our ability to function,' he added.
He is not alone - with other Sydney venues offering similar incentives.
The Apollo in Potts Point is