Houston’s restaurant industry faces severe staff shortage as 100% capacity recovers

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HOUSTON – As customers return to restaurants as more people get vaccinated, the restaurant industry in the greater Houston area faces a serious staff shortage.

“We are so seriously depressed in our workforce. You see restaurants operating at limited hours, you see them not opening at all, you see all kinds of things, ”said Cameron James, president of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association.

Cameron says that before the pandemic, the number of restaurant workers in his area reached 300,000. Now he says those numbers have fallen below 250,000 workers.

“You’ve seen grocery stores come in and poach our employees,” Cameron said. “You’ve seen Amazon, you’ve seen third-party delivery drivers, so we’ve lost a lot of our workforce over the last year. “

James says you also need to factor in unemployment benefits and lost staff stimulus checks.

“It’s a really tough time right now, and honestly it couldn’t come at a worse time to have these hiring issues because we’re finally seeing an increase in business,” he said.

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Long-time Houston restaurant owner Irma Galvan of Irma’s Original in downtown Houston says she misses half of her staff.

“I’m tired, but I have to keep going,” Galvan said. “It’s very serious and very scary because we don’t have anyone who wants to work.”

Galvan said she posted job offers, but no one was responding.

“I go into the kitchen, I walk on the floor, I take out plates, check my clients and I like to do what I do, but I get to the point where I don’t know what to do anymore,” said Galvan. at KPRC. 2.

Galvan’s Restaurant is right next to Minute Maid Park. In addition to its lunchtime crowd, its restaurant fills up on game days. Thursday is the Astros’ home opener.

“I hope when the Astros start playing people start looking for jobs,” she said.

According to James, some restaurants are closed and others operate with limited hours.

“The wait time on your order may be a bit longer or you might not see your waiter or waitress as much as you usually do because this restaurant is suffering,” James said. “I will ask the public to show a little grace at this time for the restaurants.”

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.


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