The service industry is experiencing a labor shortage, and Chattanooga hasn’t remained untouched.
Some industry locals said it’s all people are talking about + it’s an emergency situation.
Now that outdoor dining season is here, vaccination rates are increasing, and more people feel safe re-entering the public sphere, restaurants are in desperate need of employees, but very few are stepping up to the plate. (Pun not intended. 😅)
On top of that, there is also a food shortage because manufacturers are also short-staffed and cannot keep up with the demand that comes with states quickly reopening. One recent example is ketchup.
Lupi’s Pizza Owner Dorris Shober + Main Street Meats and Easy Bistro Owner Erik Niel both called the shortage a “crisis.” Some restaurants can’t open or are cutting hours because they don’t have the staff.
- Both businesses have been hiring for months at all locations but getting almost no response.
- Potential reasons for the shortage include:
- Some service workers got out of the industry + moved on to other jobs.
- Some may be wary of working in a job that encounters so many people.
- Last but not least, wages.
- Some people may be making as much through current unemployment benefits as they would at a restaurant job, so there’s a disincentive to come back, Niel said, although he expects that to ease in a few months.
- Niel said he expects continued pressure on wages. He starts people at $12.50 now, and he thinks that will eventually increase. Shober also said her wages are competitive for the industry.
- The shortage may also affect customer experiences, which restaurant owners are working to overcome, but they are experiencing a new influx of customers + taking care of them with fewer employees.
- But Niel also said there’s never been a better time to get into a service or skilled trade job because “opportunity abounds.” Managers are eager to train anyone with the willingness + aptitude, he said.
- You can find more info about jobs at Lupi’s online, and anyone interested in working at Main Street Meats or Easy Bistro can call the respective restaurants and talk to a manager.
- About 7,600 new unemployment claims were filed in Tennessee last week.
- The state unemployment rate is 5.1 percent.
- There are more than 230,000 open jobs on jobs4tn.gov.