Wait Times Rise as Restaurants Struggle to Retain and Hire Workers | Business
Local restaurants have reported that they are understaffed to cause wait times to be extended and some people have even been fired because the restaurant does not have the staff to serve them.
One restaurant that has noticed the understaffing is MasFajitas, a Mexican restaurant in Killeen.
Chris Chavez, manager at MasFajitas, has worked in restaurant management for 15 years and he explained the recruiting problem they face with so many other restaurants.
“The past eight to ten months have been the toughest,” Chavez said. “I think the stimulus checks and prolonged unemployment certainly impacted people who didn’t necessarily need or wanted to work like before COVID.”
Chavez added that MasFajitas felt the impact more earlier in the year and towards the end of 2020, and the situation has improved recently.
Isai Rodriguez, general manager of Mexican Grill de Meño in Killeen, also said the lack of applicants was a problem.
“Honestly, I think that’s a big deal that I see with a lot of restaurants. We’re still recruiting, but there aren’t as many people applying as usual, ”Rodriguez said.
When it comes to why the restaurant is struggling to hire staff, it may be due to the large amount of federal money coming from stimulus checks and unemployment benefits during COVID-19.
“Maybe that’s it or maybe it’s an underpaid staff. We tend to pay more here and give increases. but it may not yet be enough to get people through the door, ”Rodriguez said.
Employers across the country have reported difficulty hiring workers, in part because of a weekly unemployment benefit of $ 300 provided by the federal government in addition to state benefits.
For now, most economists view labor shortages as likely to be temporary. As more and more Americans are vaccinated, fewer and fewer worry about getting sick on the job.
The additional $ 300 in unemployment assistance is also set to expire in early September across the country, but ended in Texas, with Gov. Greg Abbott this month announcing that the state would no longer accept the additional $ 300 for the unemployment in order to bring more people back. to work.
Charley Ayres, director of industry partnerships and education for Central Texas Workforce Solutions, spoke about the understaffing in restaurants and why he thinks it continues.
“Continued economic growth, even during the pandemic, has led to growth in employment and retail and now more jobs are available than people to fill those jobs,” Ayres said. “There are a lot more people out of work, but as to why there aren’t more skilled people joining the workforce, I’m not sure we know the answer yet.
“I don’t know how much the stimulus and the extra unemployment have added to that, but there are a lot of jobs in the area which, even if you get the stimulus and the extra unemployment, you don’t. not get what the job would bring. you.”