Adjusted hours, closed halls, modified menus: restaurateurs explain the shortage of manpower in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Even though COVID-19 unemployment benefits have ended, getting people back to work has not been an easy task.

One of the hardest hit industries in Nashville has been the service industry.

“We had people filling out resumes and then telling them to come and report to work, without showing up. People would call us to look for a job, we would tell them to come the next day without showing up, ”said Kahlil Arnold, owner of Arnold’s Country Kitchen. “It was as if you kept looking and there was no one there. So it was crazy trying to find people to work.

For others, the challenge has been to find enough qualified staff.

“We focus on the elements of amazing food, amazing drinks, but also the experience. And for people to deliver that level of experience and go from ‘what’ to ‘good evening and welcome, good to see you’ all of those things take a long time, ”said Ben Powell, owner of Fable. . Salon.

The effects rippled from fine dining to drive-thru restaurants, with impacts such as closed lobbies, limited menu options, and adjusted hours.

“Full service is next to impossible right now when you’re either short in front of the house or short in the back of the house,” Arnold said. “I mean a lot of your cooks serve. You know, I know a lot of restaurants where the chefs are in the dining room taking orders. I mean, this is what you have to do.

But keeping the service industry alive is essential, especially in Nashville.

“We are fortunate in our society that we can push a button and someone will bring us food free of charge. We also have the ability to cook, ”explained Powell. “You can go Broadway, you can go to a sports bar… you can go to the Fable Lounge, you can go to all these different spaces. It is therefore our responsibility, as ambassadors of this industry, to ensure that we provide you with the best experience of your life.

Arnold said that a silver lining has been other restaurant owners with Tennessee’s volunteer spirit.

“I sent dishwashers to other places, people sent me prep cooks, so it’s kind of like what’s cool in the community here is that everyone help each other, ”said Arnold.

Arnold adds that in addition to the labor shortage, the high cost of living and owning a business in Nashville have made it more difficult to run a restaurant. In fact, he said the majority of his workers commute to work from Murfreesboro every day. He warns of what could happen if things don’t turn around.

“A lot of people in the service industry are just going to be overwhelmed with work because you’re going to wash the dishes, carry the tables,” Arnold said. “A lot of restaurants are probably going to close because you just can’t find the staff to fill it.”

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Fable Lounge and Arnold’s Kitchen have luckily said they have enough staff at the moment. However, they’ve seen other restaurants offering sign-up bonuses, health benefits, and even cash for fast food workers.

Hattie B’s is a Nashville staple offering competitive salaries in all of its locations. You can also find more vacancies here.

About Walter Bartholomew

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