Employer offers incentives on top of good wages but gets ‘no takers,’ he says

Now nearly fully staffed, owner credits the end of federal unemployment benefits with staff hires

The labor shortage had been putting a squeeze on the service industry and the local economy had started to feel the ramifications, area business owners say.
The labor shortage had been putting a squeeze on the service industry and the local economy had started to feel the ramifications, area business owners say.

SAN ANTONIO – A large banner hangs by the front door to B&B Smokehouse, offering the barbecue and all the trimmings it’s been selling for decades on the South Side.

“We pay time off -- dental, medical plans. I don’t know what else you can offer,” said B&B Smokehouse owner Bruce Finley. “There’s no takers.”

Finley said he’s always paid a living wage and higher. He said the only ones who understand the value of what he’s offering have been “generally older people who maybe want the security.”

But ever since Gov. Greg Abbott said he was opting out of any further federal benefits, Finley said, “We’ve seen people realize, ‘Hey, I need to start looking for a job because the money is going to go away.’”

Experts recently had predicted that could happen. Finley said he’s finally almost fully staffed, just a few short of the usual 80-85 employees.

Up until then, he said the labor shortage was so bad that B&B could no longer be open seven days a week. However, Finley said starting next week, B&B Smokehouse will be open every day.

He also said he’s still hiring part-time workers because restaurant workers often come and go, and he’s trying to build an employee reservoir.

Still, Finley said he’s bearing the consequences of other labor shortages around the nation.

Finley said he’d been forced to raise the prices of some of his most popular items because there aren’t enough truckers to transport them to market.

He said it’s further proof that there’s “nothing new in the restaurant business, always challenges.”

But Finley said he worries if nothing really changes, America can’t go from one year with everybody working, and then the next year, only half of the people working. It’s not going to work out. It’s just going to collapse on itself.”


About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.