2 years after start of pandemic, Memphis restaurant owners say they are still struggling to fill jobs

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A popular Memphis restaurant has temporarily closed its doors after thieves broke in just before closing Sunday.

Staks! Pancake Kitchen says the two employees who were there are simply too traumatized to return to work, but the bold crime compounds a bigger issue for the restaurant industry in Memphis.

When finding staff is already difficult, employees being too scared to come to work doesn’t help the situation.

The owner of Staks Pancakes Brice Bailey says they plan to reopen very soon, but, like so many other restaurants across the country, staffing shortages are still an issue.

Just before the busy Friday dinner rush at Patrick’s on Park Avenue, Action News 5 caught up with the owner and President of the Memphis Restaurant Association, Mike Miller.

Miller says while business is good, the ongoing staffing issue is still plaguing his restaurant.

Restaurants are still recovering from the pandemic that at one point shut down eateries nationwide to curb the spread of the virus.

He says applications at his restaurant are up, but employees aren’t sticking around for long.

“People don’t necessarily want to stay in their job because the competition for jobs is fierce. If you don’t like one thing about your job you can go down the street and get another one,” said Miller.

The owner of Staks! Pancake Kitchen said something similar.

The restaurant is simply using its east Memphis location to support the two other restaurants as they attempt to get up to speed with staffing.

In 2022 it’s not just staffing, supply chain issues make serving up your favorite meals difficult as well.

Products are now more expensive.

According to the National Restaurant Association, wholesale food costs were up nearly 8% in 2021 and even if you can pay for the product it’s getting harder to find.

Miller said, ”Every day now we have to go shop somewhere whether it is to go to another vendor, go to the grocery store, whatever just to find a product. Paper goods have been a nightmare for six months.”

Miller says he sometimes has to pay his manager’s gas bill to drive around town to find items.

Restaurants continue to alter menus and hours just to keep up with the constant changes.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.