Restaurant owners face new hurdle as they struggle to hire staff

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—Things are starting to look up for several small businesses now that the majority of Texas has opened back up, and you would think with restaurants being able to operate at full capacity, things would be looking up for them as well, but that’s not the case.

Now that the restaurants are open, restaurant owners are having difficulties finding the manpower to run the establishments.

Unemployment numbers rise in February

“The labor situation is the worst I’ve ever seen in my 35-year career in this business,” Scott said.

Ever since restaurants were given the green light to open up at full capacity, The Highlander Pub owner, Erik Scott hasn’t had trouble filling his place with customers, it’s finding enough staff to help run it that’s the problem.

“We’ve been trying to get applicants to walk in the door for a couple of months now and they just won’t come in,” Scott said.

But why? Scott has a couple of theories of his own.

“People are still too scared to come out and work a full-time job, that could be one option, or they’re getting their unemployment and this extra federal money so they can sit at home and play Xbox instead of having to actually work,” Scott said.

A growing trend throughout downtown, in fact, the Wichita Falls unemployment rate has nearly doubled over the past year, which is now sitting at 7.4 percent.

President and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said these businesses may have to start getting creative with their hiring processes.

“I think this is a time where companies need to be as innovative as they can, whether its adjusting their pay scale, or their work environment, or just how they market their job opportunities. Maybe sign-on bonuses, or referrals bonuses for existing employees to bring people they know into work,” Florsheim said.

Florsheim said in the mean time, be patient with these businesses.

“Maybe the service is slower, or restaurant owners dealing with a lot of turnover, they’re having to do all the jobs themselves, it’s just not the same,” Florsheim said.

And will it ever be the same? A lingering question weighing heavy on the minds of restaurant owners who are left wondering how much longer they will remain open.

Scott said he has about ten positions available. If anyone is interested in a job, they can apply in-person at the restaurant.

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