Insight on Business

August 2018

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36 | I NSIGH T • A u g u s t 2 0 1 8 w w w . i n s i g h t o n b u s i n e s s . c o m Worker shortage affects local restaurants Where the workers aren't > insight insider B y S h a r o n Ve r b e t e n It's been a couple of tough months for locally owned eateries in Northeast Wisconsin. In May, Mary's Family Restaurant in Appleton closed its south-side location, while Cinder's Restaurant in Appleton decided to close on Sundays. And in Oshkosh, the iconic Ardy and Ed's Drive- In closed for two days. e closings weren't due to a lack of food or customers. Rather, these businesses were short on staff — a growing problem among local businesses, especially restaurants, in Northeast Wisconsin. e employee shortage is not new, and with unemployment levels hovering near or at record lows, restaurant owners do not predict changes anytime soon. And without enough employees, they need to cut back or risk being unable to provide their customers with the good food and customer service they've come to expect. Ardy and Ed's Drive-In, a popular warm-weather restaurant in Oshkosh, had to close for two days this spring since it did not have enough workers. Ardy and Ed's is not alone — restaurants, especially smaller, family-owned ones, are struggling to find enough workers. Ardy and Ed's co-owner Steve Davis agrees it's "a challenge that the industry faces (especially) if you're looking at hiring students … the kids don't want to work nights or weekends; there isn't the pressure from home" for kids to get jobs. "It's somewhat a generational thing, but we're also seeing it with the working population in general." As many baby boomers retire, "it reduces the number (of workers)," says Jim Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board. at opens possibilities in other industries for workers who may have previously worked at restaurants or for retailers. is issue is not unique to the New North. "It's absolutely statewide; in fact, it's nationally. Every sector is struggling finding good people … restaurants, "It's somewhat a generational thing, but we're also seeing it with the working population in general." — Steve Davis, co-owner, Ardy and Ed's B R YA N A S C H E N B R E N N E R

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