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Local restaurants still struggle to stay fully staffed

Managers say benefits ending make no difference
Posted at 7:03 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 20:03:40-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nearly two and a half months after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ended the extra $300 in unemployement benefits, local restaurants say they are still understaffed.

If you’ve been to Yola Cocina Mexicana in Lamar Park recently, you may have noticed a sign asking customers to please be patient because they are understaffed.

“I was honestly thinking that we were going to get an influx of applicants and it was going to be like what life was before the pandemic,” Ryan Rios, owner of Yola and BKK Thai Kitchen said. “We have seven to ten different job postings at all times and for the back of house positions like the kitchen cooks, preps, dishwashers, we haven’t gotten a single applicant.”

Despite some obstacles, Rios stayed open during the pandemic.

“Of course, sales were down but I felt like it was our obligation to those who work hard for us to keep them employed,” Rios said.

Managers at popular pizza and comedy spot Mesquite Street said the community has kept them in business. They were even able to open a second location on the south side, but they are still in need of more staff.

“We go through with the interview,” Rafael Baez, the Mesquite Street manager, said. “Everything sounds good. We check all the boxes. We will go through the hiring process and then you know we tell such and such to be here the next day at four o’clock and they are just a no show.”

Baez said, even without the extra benefits, people still don’t want to work. And, the only good thing is, his current staff gets to make more money.

“What one person doesn’t want to make, another person will make you know,” Baez said. “It just all comes down to is if you’re willing to work and you want to make the money it’s there.”

Restaurant owners and management said they hope more people interested in working come through their doors before the holidays.