LATONIA, Ky. — Jordan Stephenson, who owns Bard’s Burgers and Chili, used to work seven days a week. Now, he works four — and he’s not pleased with the slowdown.
Staffing shortages have forced Stephenson to reduce the time Bard’s is open, cutting some days out of the schedule and shortening hours on the rest. Some members of his core staff are going back to school as the summer ends, and he’s had trouble finding applicants who can fill their positions.
It’s a problem faced by businesses nationwide.
“I know a lot of places are doing little different bonuses and stuff,” Stephenson said. “We just offer great pay for great work. If it’s a good, hard-working employee, we’re definitely very competitive on wage.”
The restaurant industry lost millions of jobs in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced business owners to reduce capacity or move outdoors in order to keep customers safe. Many restaurants shut down completely. And the industry is still struggling.
So is the hotel industry, which suffered similar pandemic-specific setbacks. Who would travel when all of their plans had been canceled? Who would trust an open breakfast buffet when other guests’ breath and hands could make it unsafe? Jobs were lost. Workers quit.
Shondale Turner, general manager at the new Towneplace Suites in downtown Cincinnati, said she’s still struggling to fill vacancies.
“We have interviews set up every day, three to four interviews, and no one shows up for the interview,” she said.
She claims the competition is so intense that other hotels call the front desk and try to lure her staff away. They haven’t succeeded yet, but she understands why they’d try.
“I just think everyone is desperate at this point,” she said.