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Local restaurant temporarily closes due to lack of employees

Local restaurants are desperate to retain workers, some resorting to drastic measures.
One...
Local restaurants are desperate to retain workers, some resorting to drastic measures. One restaurant owner is temporarily closing her doors until she finds long-term employees. She’s looking for experienced workers who know their way around a kitchen, are passionate about food, and most of all committed.(WBRC)
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Local restaurants are desperate to retain workers, some resorting to drastic measures.

One restaurant owner is temporarily closing her doors until she finds long-term employees.

She’s looking for experienced workers who know their way around a kitchen, are passionate about food, and most of all committed.

“Yesterday, I ended up closing mid-shift. The last person walked out. Last week, I was closed the first two days of the week. The one person I had at that point he didn’t show up as well. So, it’s just kind of been a rollercoaster for the past two weeks,” said Executive Chef & CEO of Eat at Panoptic, Raquel Ervin.

A post on the Eat at Panoptic Facebook page reads “Closed until further notice, #nostaff.”

“And then after yesterday, it just made the most sense to just say, ‘Hey…temporarily closed,’” Ervin explained.

She said demand for her made-to-order sliders is extremely high. The line of loyal customers runs out the door every time she opens.

“And I want to maintain those customers, so I don’t necessarily want to jack the prices up trying to compensate between labor and food costs,” Ervin said.

But the problem is retaining employees.

Ervin said it seems no one wants to work right now, and she can’t compete with the salaries applicants are requesting, and the unemployment they’re collecting.

“If you do the math, which of course, I have, it is an excess of between $20 and $30 an hour to try to compete to try to pull someone from unemployment, along with all the other child tax credit and benefits that are out there right now,” Ervin said.

Some local restaurants said they’re willing to hire anyone. While other restaurants are resorting to daily hires to keep their doors open. But Ervin said she can’t risk quantity over quality.

“I just can’t have anybody working. You kind of have to know that my product is raw, everything’s from scratch. You have to have some inkling of an idea of what you’re doing to maintain that quality,” Ervin said.

Ervin remains positive, saying she believes her doors will only be closed temporarily, and the right team will come along soon.

She needs at least six committed, full-time workers to join her team.

If you believe you can fill that need, you can apply at eatatpanoptic.com/joinourteam.

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