Short-staffed restaurants need new hires before holidays

Business

Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.6 million nationwide since February 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Staffing shortages in Oregon and across the country have businesses struggling to fill positions as the holiday rush looms.

The pandemic has hit the restaurant industry particularly hard in terms of employment gaps. State data shows thousands of workers in Oregon left the foodservice and accommodation industry for other jobs by the end of 2020.

Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.6 million nationwide since February 2020.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Pioneer Place has dozens of open positions and is stepping up efforts to fill them. Starting this week, the restaurant is sending corporate employees to help short-staffed locations and recruit new workers.

A worker at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Pioneer Place in Portland, October 8, 2021 (KOIN)

“I could easily hire 25 to 30 people in Portland and feel pretty good about it — also that Pioneer Place is a high-end mall, here comes the holiday shopping season coming into November,” said Chris Zygler, regional leader of restaurants for Raising Cane’s, “so I’d love to hire 25 more people there.”

Raising Cane’s said they offered one-time bonuses to employees during the pandemic and plan to do so again before the end of the year. The company is also now offering educational benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, as an additional incentive to work there.

Restaurants aren’t alone in the struggle to find workers. The September jobs report found 51% of small business owners have openings they can’t fill.

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