Restaurants and bars struggle for staff as closures continue

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – There’s a shrinking number of options for date nights, birthday dinners, or a night out as a growing number of restaurants and bars close amid struggles of inflation and worker shortages.

According to North Dakota Job Service, there’s 296 openings for food preparation in the southeastern region of the state. However they also say that the food service industry is notoriously under represented, as most job listings are from signs or word of mouth.

“I see a lot of places are hiring. I just don’t understand how people don’t want to work. It got to a point here where we had to close the kitchen early or not open on certain days,” said Ian Tacan, a kitchen manager.

The cutbacks made from staffing shortages are making establishments nervous of the worst case scenarios they’re seeing in their neighbors. However, others closing also leaves a potential opportunity to bolster their own ranks.

Wade Jensen, a manager at Pub West said, “I was just talking about somebody eating at Carino’s the other day and a couple days later you’re seeing it on social media and you’re hearing it through the grape vine. One of the first things you’re thinking is, ‘we have to get some of that staff.’ Everybody’s kind of peaking over that fence. We’re short in the kitchen and if they got people who are looking for a job we’d love to have them walk in through our door.”

And while restaurants are making due with what they have, it’s a constant worry that one day, they won’t

“We had a pretty rough couple of months,” added Jensen. “You kind of start to get out of it and see things going in the right direction, so you think maybe this won’t last forever, but then it only takes one person who decides they’re not going to show up for work, or they want to move on to something else. Then you feel like you’re going underwater again.”

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