Omaha restaurants are facing staff shortages as business picks up again

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Restaurant owners across the country and right here in Omaha say they are slowly recovering and more and more customers are feeling safe enough to dine there.

After a devastating year, they face another hurdle: a crisis of staff shortages.

“Business is returning faster than our employees,” said Zoe Olson, executive director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association.

The Nebraska Restaurant Association says the jobs are available. But there are not enough people who are ready to fill these positions.

Restaurant owners like Mitch Tempus say it takes a toll.

“We’re really struggling to keep the business going with the amount of staff we currently have,” said Mitch Tempus, Fernando’s owner.

Restaurant owners say this is the worst defect they have ever faced.

The Nebraska Restaurant Association states that there could be a number of reasons, from increased unemployment benefits to the fact that many servers left the industry at the beginning of the pandemic.

“You may have worked in the food industry. We were asked about workers by the food industry because they found it so difficult to keep food on the shelf, ”said Olson.

Restaurant owners and staff are doing their best to keep up with demand. But they say they won’t expect to get busier for months to come.

“If we don’t have enough servers, we can’t reach people in time, and when summer comes we’ll open patios. We just need more and more, ”said Katie O’Connor, general manager of Timber.

Entrepreneurs say they will do whatever they can to get employees in the door. Some offer sign-up bonuses. Others say they make the pay as competitive as possible.

Not sure what to do next.

“We’re probably paying people at a premium price now. As much as any other company in any other industry. So I don’t know what the solution is. “

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