Texas restaurant closes after staff leave for $ 5,000 pay rise: labor shortage

  • A Texas taco restaurant has closed because it couldn’t find enough staff due to the labor shortage, its owner said.
  • Staff were poached by larger companies and job applicants did not show up for interviews, he said.
  • Restaurant staff left the industry in search of better wages and benefits.

A taco restaurant in Texas has closed after it was left with just three kitchen workers, its owner told Insider.

Paul Horton, the owner of Taco Crush in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas, said big companies poached some of his employees by offering much higher salaries or benefits.

“I know we’ve lost half a dozen who were offered an extra $ 5,000 a year to go elsewhere,” he said.

“Or even just benefits – being a small independent business, I can’t compete with the salaries of big companies, let alone offer them benefits,” he added. He didn’t name the biggest companies he said poached his staff.

When asked what he paid staff, Horton said it was “a reasonable salary”, without elaborating.

Restaurant staff left the industry in search of better wages, benefits and working conditions, leading some restaurants to raise prices, cut hours, limit services, or shut down permanently.

The labor shortage in the United States has affected other industries as well, with some business owners blaming a lack of desire to work. Workers, meanwhile, say they don’t need to take low-paying jobs in such a competitive job market.

Horton said some of his new hires will drop out within weeks of taking office. Each new hire meant more training – as a result, the quality of the food dropped because interns sometimes made mistakes, he said.

Horton said it had become “literally unsure or viable to continue to maintain operations” after losing all but three of his kitchen workers.

Horton said when he started scheduling he realized that these employees would each have to work 80 or 90 hours a week and even then service would be slow.

“At a minimum to cover the shifts we needed six people, but to operate effectively and efficiently we needed eight or nine people,” he said.

Horton said he spent thousands of dollars advertising on job boards like Indeed, but only about 10% of applicants responded to him after trying to set up an interview.

Of those with whom he scheduled interviews, only 5-10% showed up, he said. Other restaurants also said some candidates did not come to the interviews.

“You can’t be choosy anymore,” said Horton. “Basically, you hire anybody who shows up.”

A McDonald’s in Oregon is calling on 14-year-olds to apply for jobs, while a restaurant manager in Virginia said she hired people with bad attitudes because she was in desperate need of staff.

Do you own or manage a restaurant that has trouble finding staff? Or are you a hospitality worker who quit your job – or the industry – because of your pay, benefits, or working conditions? Contact this reporter at [email protected]

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