AUSTIN, Texas - As more places continue to recover following the pandemic, restaurants are facing a new challenge: hiring.
"The need to come back to work is just not there right now," said Skeeter Miller the owner of The County Line.
At the County Line, they used to average about eight to 10 servers a night before the pandemic, now they are lucky to get about three. "We had 500 employees total for all of our restaurants and so we lost probably around three quarter those employees," said Miller.
Miller told FOX 7 Austin, while some returned, many of his employees moved on to other jobs in other fields which were able to be open during the pandemic. Now trying to fill these spots is becoming more difficult. This past month for their two locations they were only able to hire five new employees.
One thing that strikes Miller as odd is there are people applying; they even go through the entire process and get the job. However, when it comes time for their first shift, they are never heard from again.
"They do all of this work and then they don't show up to work. Then you find out on a Saturday night where you're going to have a ton of people and you have 5 people not going to show up for work, it's a problem," Miller says.
The County Line is not alone in this struggle to get workers. It is a problem across the entire state. In an effort to help, the Texas Restaurant Association is hosting a virtual job fair with the Texas Workforce Commission.
"We're just trying to make it as easy as possible for restaurants to get the word out that there are opportunities available to them. In many cases some people just don't know where to look," said Joe Monastero, the Texas Restaurant Association chief strategy and operations officer.
What makes this job fair different from others is they are offering the certifications needed to work in the restaurant industry for free.
"It saves them the money and makes them immediately employable in the industry," said Monastero
Miller is hopeful this problem plaguing the restaurant industry is only temporary because customers are now ready to return and eat.