Texas Restaurants Starved for Workers Find Creative Ways to Recruit Job-seekers

Restaurants across Texas are offering unique perks to sweeten the deal for potential employees

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Restaurants that survived the pandemic are now facing a new problem: Finding people to work for them.

Across Texas, restaurants are hiring and they’re getting creative to fill positions.

A restaurant in New Braunfels advertised on Facebook it can provide room and board for employees. Many now have sign-on bonuses to sweeten the deal for job seekers.

“I do know that there's a lot of companies, other companies, that are willing to pay cash but surprisingly even then no one's taking those offers,” said Marc Robledo, manager of Valerie’s Taco Stand.

The California-based company recently expanded into Plano but the restaurant is temporarily closed, Robledo says, because of too few employees and high demand.

It isn't just family-owned restaurants dealing with a labor shortage.

Major fast-food chains are in a hiring frenzy too with McDonald's trying to fill 25,000 jobs this month in Texas alone.

“Crisis is the right word,” said Kelsey Erickson Streufert, vice president of governmental relations and advocacy for the Texas Restaurant Association.

She says a recent poll revealed 82% of its member restaurants have job openings that are difficult to fill.

“Unfortunately, it's a lot of problems that are layered on top of each other,” Streufert said.

Among the problems, she says, employees who switched careers after layoffs, uncertainty surrounding school and daycare, and what she describes as "generous" unemployment benefits.

“Our ability to recover and small businesses’ ability to recover is directly tied to this issue of bringing people back into the workforce,” Streufert said, adding the TRA estimates it will take at least three years for the industry to recover.

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