East Texas restaurants struggling to hire new employees


TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Many restaurants are facing a similar problem: too many job openings, too few applicants.

From burger places to steak houses, all kinds of jobs are available, including cooks, dishwashers, wait staff, and even hosts.

Papacita’s in Tyler is one of many local restaurants in need of workers. Rodney Harris has been with the restaurant for more than 20 years. He’s just one of the many across the nation having difficulty hiring new employees after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris thinks that one reason for the shortage is that people are still getting unemployment benefits and they still have plenty of cash from their stimulus checks.

“When the economy was shut down, it was good and now its opening back up and people are hesitant to go back to work because they’re making good money at home,” Harris said.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than half of their businesses have seen staffing levels drop.

Leaders at the Texas Restaurant Association say restaurants were hit hardest during the pandemic and they still have the toughest climb back to the pre-coronavirus employment levels.

“So according to a recent survey that was conducted on April 14, 2021 by the national restaurant association, 91% of operators say they currently have job openings that are difficult to fill. 91%. And most do not expect labor challenges to ease as we open up more,” said Anna Tauzin, Chief Revenue & Innovation Officer for the Texas Restaurant Association.

There are almost 2,000,000 fewer 16 to 34 year olds in the workforce this year. That’s the biggest age group who work in the restaurant industry.

Until things change, restaurant employees are working hard to make up for gaps in service.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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