Help Wanted: Restaurants face post-pandemic problems

Local News

SAINT ALBANS, WV (WOWK) — While most restaurants will agree business is back up, many are also still having staffing issues and raising prices; some are even adding an extra ‘pandemic gratuity’ to help cover expenses.

On Tuesday afternoon all of the parking spaces in Saint Albans’ Olde Main Plaza were full.

Many were grabbing an early dinner.

Shuckers restaurant owner Guy Turturice says they’ve been fortunate enough to keep all of their staff throughout the pandemic.

“We really didn’t experience any loss in that regard thank goodness,” said Turturice.

He also says he hopes he won’t ever get to the point of up-charging customers as other restaurants have.

“We’ve probably experienced more shortages on foods and stuff and the availability, than we have price increases, however, I have seen a lot of price increases here lately especially with the price of beef,” he said.

Diners approached by 13 News in Saint Albans said they wouldn’t mind paying more if needed.

“For a while, I guess that’d be fine; I guess they can go back eventually, but I know everyone got hit — especially small local businesses,” said one man who had just dined at a restaurant that had a sign disclaiming they increased the prices for some of their items.

People on WOWK’s social media page had a lot to say when we asked what they thought.

“People are taking advantage of higher-paying jobs that are available due to the pandemic, taking skills classes or online classes to better themselves,” wrote one woman.

“Do you people not realize that these so-called missing workers are women? Women whose kids are out for the summer or were remote learning” wrote another follower.

At Cozumel Mexican Grill in Saint Albans, their main issue is they’re short-staffed.

“We have seven employees right now but we’re looking for a couple more,” said Amari Fields, the owner’s daughter.

Fields says their ideal number is 12.

The restaurant manager says three out of the last five interviewees told him they couldn’t pass a drug test.

Brianna Adkins, one of Cozumel Grill’s employees says it’s also people not wanting to show up.

“They’re putting in applications and they just fail on us whenever we call them back,” said Adkins.

So until the job market stabilizes and the workforce comes back, local restaurants will continue to keep making it work however they best see fit.

If you would like to apply for work you can reach Cozumel Mexican Grill at 304-721-9019.

Follow Larisa Casillas on Facebook and Twitter for the latest local and breaking news

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