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As restrictions rollback, finding employees becoming a tough job for restaurants

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As restrictions across North Carolina continue to roll back, restaurants across the Charlotte area are being met with a problem exacerbated by the pandemic: hiring a full staff.

On Friday, restaurants will be able to open with capacity at 75 percent indoors and 100 percent outdoors.

As more customers come through the doors, restaurants are looking to add workers.

Except, there is one problem.

“We need more staff, it’s just hard to get people to apply more than anything,” said Cat Read.

Charles and Cat Read own the Queen City Craft and Gourmet restaurant in south Charlotte.

“Running with less servers, less hosts. No busboys, no dishwasher, you know, only a handful of cooks. And we’re doing everything we can to get through it,” said Charles Read.

Read said pre-pandemic, they had 24 employees. The total today is only 14.

The pandemic, they say, puts a magnifying glass on an issue often found in the hospitality industry.

“It’s amazing how few applications we get, you know, we’ve found some really good employees during this pandemic, but we haven’t gotten that nearly the number of applications that we usually get. It’s been a tenth of the applications,” said Charles Read.

As the reopening of the state continues, it means more people with the potential of not having enough staff to take care of the demand.

“Definitely a concern and it always is a concern. It’s more difficult now during the pandemic, but as business owners, we fill the gaps, and so you’ll, you’ll see me running a lot more drinks and a lot more food. My wife makes all our bread and everything, so she comes in early in the morning,” Charles Read said.

The Reads also thanked the community for the support and patience.

“It’s been the toughest year. It’s something I never, you know, I thought out every scenario of everything that could happen to the business and of course this was not at all the playing field,” he said.

For those looking for employment, Charles Read says to look at a family-owned restaurant in your area.

“I’m never too busy to stop and talk to somebody who wants to come and work at our establishment,” Read added. “I can spend two or three minutes and set up an interview and, and not just us but restaurants across the board. We all need help right now so if you’re looking for a job, walk into your local restaurant, go somewhere close by.”

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