Local restaurants struggling to find workers

Local News

You may notice quite a few local businesses are hiring. Many of them are struggling to find workers.

So, just how serious is the situation? Over the past couple days we have been talking to restaurant owners to find out.

“On Monday, I had seven interviews, and I had one person show,” said Carla Pine Owner Broadway Grill & Tavern.

The food and beverage industry is trying to get things back to normal, but.. there’s one problem. People aren’t coming back to work.

“Now, we’re as busy as what we’re used to being, and we need people, and it’s harder to get them. We could probably use another six to eight servers. Probably two to four more bartenders and 2 more cooks,” said Tim Conover, General Manager of Blarney Stone Pub.

We spoke to the Executive Director of the North Dakota Hospitality Association. He says they are still experiencing pandemic-related issues.

I haven’t walked into a bar or restaurant or hotel that’s not looking for cooks or servers or housekeepers or front desk people. I mean it’s across the industry. It’s only been exacerbated by kind of a period where we’re closed then opened at limited capacity.
Now we’re technically able to be open at full capacity. Now we’re just having a difficult time staffing up,” said Rudie Martinson, Executive Director, ND Hospitality Association

According to the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, for both counties, there were almost 3,000 job openings during the month of April. If you’re wondering why people aren’t filling these positions, there are a few theories.

“Peoples lives changed in general. Both their dining out habits working habits, their travel habits. All of those things have changed. As that uncertainty kind of fades and vaccination rates rise, and people gain more confidence back, I think there’s a little bit of a lag time there,” said Martinson.

“I think part of it is happening because people are still on the unemployment, and they are still getting those benefits. So, they are applying for jobs because they want to keep their unemployment,” said Pine.

So, how exactly are these restaurants getting by with such short staffs?

“It definitely makes it more difficult. People are working longer hours, more shifts, but we’re getting by,” said Conover.

“My staff, a lot of them have been working overtime. Double shifts. Just picking up. I have a good staff here, and they’re all willing to help out. But I’m sure they are kind of getting burned out,” said Pine.

The Hospitality Association says if the issue continues, many businesses may have to close their larger dining areas, spend more on advertising and even incentivize hiring.

Rudie Martinson says in providing that incentive to get people back to work, customers could pay a higher price when they go out to eat.

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