‘High demand and low supply in the workforce’: San Antonio business owners struggle to find employees to operate at 100%

Restaurants are forced to adjust their hours because they can’t get people to come in to work

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic is placing strain on staffing at San Antonio restaurants trying to operate at 100%, but they don’t have the employees to do so.

James Moore, the president of the Texas Restaurant Association San Antonio Chapter and owner of Full Belly Café & Bar, says everyone in the industry is struggling to get back to a new normal with limited staff.

“There’s high demand and low supply in the workforce right now. Everybody is experiencing the pressure to, you know -- we want to serve everybody at every moment that we can. And, unfortunately, we’re just being overextended a little bit right now,” Moore said.

Business owners are asking for a bit of grace for their clients and customers as businesses try to reintegrate.

Lucy Coopers Texas Ice House owner Braunda Smith says she was forced to close a day over the weekend because she didn’t want to leave customers with a bad taste in their mouth over bad service.

“After being closed for so many months -- you know what a hard decision that was as a business owner -- but I would rather do that and save my reputation and give you no service than bad service,” she said.

Smith said she thinks it’s a combination of different things that have formed the perfect storm for this staffing crisis, including some who still aren’t comfortable working without a vaccine and others who are getting by with stimulus, unemployment and tax refund checks.

ALSO ON KSAT.COM: Program helps owners ‘take the helm’ of struggling small businesses

Smith went from having 32 staff members before the pandemic to eight on Friday. She says those who are working are making good money on tips.

Smith kindly asks customers who feel frustrated over the wait times and service to be kind and hold off on bad reviews. She expects things will balance out at some point.

Moore says it’s dealer’s pick right now if you want to work. Pick a place and apply because you’ll likely get hired.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there are several grants still available for businesses that are struggling.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.