Local restaurants in need of help along the Gulf Coast
With Governor Tate Reeves lifting the statewide mask mandate and tourists flooding back to the Gulf Coast for spring break and the summer season, local restaurants have been struggling to find employees.
This time last year, the Gulf Coast Restaurant Group and the restaurant industry as a whole was suffering record job losses, location closures, and revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A year later, local restaurants like the Rack House and the District on the Alley are facing a different problem: finding enough employees to serve all their new customers.
A year after shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant business is still facing challenges to get back up and running. District on the Alley Owner Rob Reid said, “We opened a year and a half ago, so it’s probably the worst time in history to open. So, the last year has been really tough. So now we’re starting to see people come out again and we’re starting to get busy and we’re struggling with getting enough employees to serve the customers.”
Coastal restaurants have been desperate to hire workers to join their teams. Some businesses have had to reduce seating capacity or operating hours due to depleted work staff, while some have had to close their business due to no employees wanting to come back to work. Gulf Coast Restaurant Group Marketing Director Kelsey Griffin said, “I think everybody on the Gulf Coast that runs a restaurant can say to just anticipate longer wait times. We’re doing the best we can. We want to make sure you still get the best service you do and that’s going to ask for a little compromise.”
“Our guests, they understand and they work with us and they’re having a good time as well, but obviously more help is going to make it easier on everyone.”
With the summer months quickly approaching and a bump in tourism that comes along with them, Reid and Griffin are hoping to add to their staff in order to capitalize on the business visitors are bringing to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, something that has been lacking for the past year. “We get a few applicants. Most don’t show back up. A lot don’t show up for their interviews. So, it’s been tough. And with us going into the busy season, now is the time where we need the help.”
“The fact that we have tourists that are still feeling safe enough to visit our Mississippi Gulf Coast, we are so happy to welcome them down here. So, we’re just going to try to keep up with the pace and hope that they keep coming.”
To apply for any of the job openings, job seekers are asked to check Facebook pages or stop by the restaurants for an application. “Anybody that feels like they just need to polish off some customer service skills, go apply to a local restaurant that you really enjoy. And you might learn something new.”