Area Businesses Still Finding Labor Shortages

Many of the challenges area restaurants faced during the pandemic are behind us, but another perfect storm is brewing that’s creating havoc in the food service industry. Jessica Dunker, CEO and president of the Iowa Restaurant Association, says finding reliable workers is just one of the major hurdles they’re now trying to cope with.

While revenues for some restaurants are up, she says in many cases, profits are down. The association is addressing the issues with its members, trying to help them ride the waves.

She also recommends restaurant owners brainstorm to find ways to make do with smaller staffs, while being prepared to raise wages. While one in three Iowans of a certain age will say their first job was in the restaurant industry, Dunker says it’s no longer the case for the new generation. The industry is struggling to find younger workers, droves of whom are now being lured by a host of other entry-level jobs in areas where restaurants never before had to compete.

She implores Iowans to, “Be patient, be kind, and still come out to appreciate and enjoy all the hospitality scene has to offer.


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