Restaurant owners still face staff shortages as restrictions are lifted

(WIVB) — With restrictions being lifted for restaurants, owners are still facing one problem when it comes to returning to normal, finding employees.

Restaurants and bars across Western New York can stay open later and seat more people, but many say they’re having a tough time finding the staff they need to accommodate the influx of customers.

Jimmy Butera, who owns Butera’s Craft Beer and Craft Pizza in Hamburg, is one of the places experiences this issue. He tells News 4 that they’ve had to cut their hours back because they don’t have enough staff. He’s even considering closing earlier if they don’t get the extra help.

Butera says his current staff has been working longer hours lately and if one person can’t work it adds pressure on the rest of his team. He says that also causes longer wait times for customers.

“As soon as things started opening back up and we put an ad out there and nobody responds to it, it’s kind of disheartening,” he said. “It’s a tough industry to begin with. Now, on top of that, having very limited personal to choose from is making it more challenging.”

Maria MacPeek who manages the Irishman Pub and Eatery in Williamsville says they are getting temporary help from people who are out of school during the Summer months. She says they are still looking to hire people long-term.

Restaurant owners are hoping businesses will have a better time filling positions once unemployment benefits run out in August.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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