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Restaurants hopeful pandemic's unemployment benefits ending will help them hire more staff

Employers at restaurants struggle to find employees
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 25, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The pandemic has caused restaurants to go through many difficulties, one of them being a shortage of workers. Many restaurants in Corpus Christi are attributing the shortage to people getting unemployment benefits and not wanting to work.

Phat Keto Company is one of the restaurants that is facing a worker shortage.

When the restaurant opened it had about 15 employees, but now they’re working with about eight. Just last week they had to close down because they didn’t have the staff to accommodate for the day’s demands.

They said they were at a job fair but didn’t get many people to apply. In the past few days, they’ve hired two workers but are still looking to hire cooks, a bakery assistant and a cashier.

Margie Castillo, the owner of the restaurant, broke her neck last year and said she used to work 12-hour shifts, but she’s had to cut down her hours because of her injury.

Now with fewer workers, it’s hard for the restaurant to keep up with the work, but she’s staying hopeful that with unemployment benefits ending in the state of Texas, more people will come in to apply.

“I need a lot of help. People are just now starting to apply and I’m going to hire them," Castillo said. "If somebody wants a job you know come on in. I like to train them the way we work so they don’t even have to have experience.”

Taqueria Acapulco is also facing the same shortage of employees and said the shortage is hurting the functions of the restaurant. Workers are now having to take on multiple roles like hostesses also having to wait tables.

They’re expecting to get more employees soon with the unemployment benefits ending. They’re hiring a hostess, waitress and a dishwasher.

“It’s stressful because we don’t have like busboys and tables are dirty, people are complaining," said Michaela Perez, a hostess at the restaurant. "Waitresses, there's a shortage. People are wanting to get their food faster and there’s not enough to keep the restaurant flowing and going."

Tannin’s Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant is also having to run the restaurant with fewer employees, meaning some employees are having to work double shifts.

They said chain businesses offering new employees signing bonuses might be pulling people away from working at their facility.

“Us independent business owners, it’s a little bit hard for us to pick up the right personnel because they want to go someplace where they have more incentives or something like that,” owner Jerry Davila said.

He said some potential hires are skipping out on interviews and even training but with the end of the pandemic’s unemployment benefits, he’s hoping more people will be willing to work.

Currently they’re hiring kitchen staff and will be hiring bartenders soon.