Restaurants Already Strained By Staffing Crisis Hit By COVID-19 And Flu


IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – When Maacs Grill in Irving had two employees call in sick last week, the restaurant shut down for several days.

“In my kitchen I’m short staffed. It’s been like this for almost a year,” said owner Ujwal Khatri.

Khatri said he can’t lose any workers and keep the place running, as much as it hurts him to close.

“I’m losing two to three days of business. I’m losing money. And it’s hardship for my employees as well, because they work for tips,” said Khatri.

The neighborhood bar isn’t the only restaurant that’s had to temporarily close its doors.

In Fort Worth, the food hall at Crockett Row and Pizza Verde both announced on social media they’ll be closed through January 2nd because of sick staff members.

Easy Slider’s in Grapevine has closed as well “due to COVID-19 exposure within our team”, according to a post on its Facebook page.

Jon Bonnell cancelled hundreds of reservations and limited his namesake restaurant, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, to curbside service only after six employees there got sick this week.

“From food runners to management to hostesses and there’s a point where we said we can’t provide the level of service we’re known for,” said Bonnell.

The Texas Restaurant Association reports businesses are struggling to rebuild staff after shutting down at the start of the pandemic to stop spread of the virus.

78% of Texas restaurants, it reports, said they still don’t have enough employees to meet current demand.

“It’s concerning because this is a real critical time for the hospitality industry,” said Kelsey Erickson-Streufert, the association’s vice president of government affairs.

The holidays, and New Year’s in particular, often bring in a lot of business

“This time of year we used to have a lot of fun,” said Khatri.

Instead, this year, owners are asking you be kind.

“Don’t jump straight online and jump on people. Everybody’s trying their best. These are the ones who showed up. So please just have a little patience,” said Bonnell.

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