SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Labor is reporting a record low number of people on unemployment for 2022. With the rate low, at just over 2 percent, many restaurants and businesses in Sioux Falls are struggling to find people to fill positions.
“We kind of need help everywhere,” Donelan said.
The restaurant industry has been trying to bounce back from the pandemic for the last three years.
“It really put our industry at a downfall. Like, it really hit us hard, I suppose you would say, because now there just aren’t people for those positions,” said Rachael Donelan, GM of Mackenzie River.
There are currently 10 open positions at Mackenzie River. General Manager Rachael Donelan says she hasn’t been able to find anyone to fill them.
“Especially for the positions that are cooks, dishwashers, my prep cooks, anything that’s in the back of my house is a harder position to fill,” Donelan said.
They aren’t the only ones experiencing the worker shortage. Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean has not been fully staffed in over a year.
“Honestly, I can’t keep up. Because I’m spending 1/3 of my time instead of making the meals. I’m doing the dishes. I mean, I’m grateful we have busy lunch,” said Sanaa Abourezk, owner of Sanaa’s Gourmet.
Sanaa’s has not been fully open for lunch and dinner for over a year, which has created a loss of income. This seems to be the continuing reality for those in the restaurant industry.
“We could really expand, we can add more items to our menus, we can increase our hours. But because I can’t find employees, I just decided for myself to just serve lunch,” Abourezk said.
“We almost have to come to the conclusion of how do we serve our guests the best? Do we decide to take out tables, so we only can serve so many at a time that ensures my kitchen can keep up?” Donelan said.
Both restaurants say they have been advertising for job openings. They say people are applying but few are actually hired and stay in the positions.