‘It’s a new kind of challenge’: Restaurants struggle to reopen fully with not enough staff

SPOKANE, Wash. — Restaurants and shops already had a brutal year with pandemic shut downs. Now, they face a whole new challenge – not having enough staff.

Durkin’s Liquor Bar in downtown Spokane is usually filled with people dining in for lunch. However, owner Debra Green said opening up earlier in the day is just not possible.

Green owns Durkins, Casper Fry, and Madeleine’s Cafe & Patisserie, and all three restaurants are short staffed.

Normally, they’d have about 60 employees combined. Right now, they’re down to 35. She’s put out ads weekly, but said they’re just not getting the same amount of applicants as they used to.

“It’s a transient industry. I think that people took the opportunity of the pandemic to move on and do other things,” said Green.

Green isn’t the only business owner who’s struggling.

Just down the street at Peace Pie Pizzeria, owner Isaac Houger is facing the same challenges when it comes to hiring staff.

“We want to be open full swing but we don’t have the staff to do that,” Houger said.

He said this not only puts stress on his employees, it’s also causing him to lose business.

Both restaurant owners said if people do plan on dining out this Father’s Day weekend, to please be kind and have patience.