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College Station restaurants looking for workers as enhanced unemployment benefits end

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As of Monday, millions of Americans will no longer receive pandemic-enhanced unemployment benefits.

Two federal programs expired on Monday that provided funds to self-employed and gig workers, those unemployed for more than six months, and the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit.

This comes at a time when many Brazos Valley business owners are struggling to find staff to keep up with business.

“Our biggest concern right now being short staff is we’re going to burn out the good people that we have,” said Michael Lair, owner of Stella Southern Cafe.

Taco Bar owner, Rolando Gonzalez says staffing issues have changed the way they do business.

“We are closing early right now as we’re trying to find staff to fully schedule for the week,” said Gonzalez. “It’s really hard to tell if people don’t want to come back to work because of benefits or if they’re scared of this COVID or what’s the main cause behind everything.”

Walk On’s Sports Bistreaux Franchisee, Jenny Davis says while staff numbers are manageable, she’s worried about what the long-term costs could look like.

“Whether it’s we don’t have enough people or our supply lines don’t have enough people and therefore cost go up when you don’t have the employees or the resources,” said Davis. “Down the line who sees that is the customer, the guests, and we’re trying to prevent that from happening.”

Lair says they’re doing what they can to spark potential employee’s interests.

“Wellness programs, health benefits that have never been a part of a restaurant gig, now we’re having to add those, pay rates are going up everybody is trying lure people back into the market,” said Lair.

Owners say they’re hoping things will start to turn around as those losing benefits seek work.

“We’re hopeful that they’ll definitely get more applications in and get more people trying to find jobs,” said Gonzalez.

“We all hope that that’s going to be the big turning point in there, the hard part is if that comes to fruition are those habits ingrained or do people really want to get back there in the workforce,” said Lair.

All three of these restaurants are hiring. You can find more information by clicking the links below.

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