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Restaurant sees staffing shortage post-pandemic

Office Hours Sandwich Shops has tried to hire staff for two months.
Office Hours
Posted at 10:02 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 23:10:07-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — A local sandwich shop has struggled to hire new employees for the past two months.

Office Hours Sandwich Shop is a restaurant mostly serving business folks for lunch. Owner Aaron Miller tells KATC they have the business for it, but have struggled to hire people for weeks.

Out of desperation, they turned to Facebook.

“It was a little bit out of exasperation,” said Miller. “I got online and said, ‘I’m gonna be real with y’all. If we don’t find people, we’re going to have to totally scale back our business model,’ and it seemed to have sparked quite a conversation among folks online.”

Although he says they were lucky to have been able to stay afloat during the pandemic, business is booming again with people returning to offices.

He says they were pleasantly surprised that, even with people they serve working mostly from home during the shutdowns, their business stayed stable.

This, however, is causing them to need more people at the shop.

“It seems like as more people get out and start returning a quote-unquote normal existence, finding the staff we need to take care of those people is harder and harder,” he said.

So what’s causing this?

Some people believe that it has to do with the fact that some might prefer to stay at home collecting unemployment, rather than going to work.

6,783 new unemployment claims were made during the week ending on May 1 of this year.

That’s a big difference from the same week last year, where 50,941 new claims were filed.

Overall, continuous claims – meaning claims that are ongoing – are significantly lower as well compared to this time last year.

52,018 continuous claims were made during the week ending on May 1, compared to 310,000 for the same time last year.

Miller says some people that eat at his restaurant are having the same issues they were faced with.

“No matter the industry,” he says. “I've talked to plumbers, I've talked to electricians, I've talked to engineers, I've talked to doctors, and everyone is echoing the same sentiment that they’re just having trouble filling the positions that they have available because of a lack of folks coming in and applying.”

Miller says that after his post on Facebook, they have received qualified applicants and are hopeful that they won’t have to change their business operations.

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