Local restaurant struggles to find new employees during pandemic

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 11:55 AM EDT
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(6/8/20) - As restaurants reopen their doors across the state after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, one Mid-Michigan restaurant is having a hard time hiring new employees.

Timbers Bar and Grill, located in Saginaw Township, has been open to dine-in service since Wednesday.

"If it gone much further, it would have been really hard to come back," said George Anderson, managing partner at Timbers Bar and Grill.

Anderson said it has been nice to reopen after COVID-19 turned business on its head.

"The weird thing, it actually started feeling normal, which at first it felt abnormal," he said. "And then after 10 weeks, we're going to open. 'Oh, what's that going to be like?' So, it really was kind of strange."

But now that operations are getting back to normal, Anderson said that finding people to work has been an issue.

"We have a huge section of the restaurant right now that I can't seat because I don't have enough staff," Anderson said. "I don't have enough staff to put out the product in a timely manner."

Anderson said that it was tough to find employees before the pandemic but now, it's even harder.

He said that in the 10 weeks of being take-out only, some employees have moved, or got new jobs. He also said finding new people to work has been tough because of safety concerns or current unemployment benefits.

"The federal government set up the $600 extra, well in the restaurant business, lots of folks, they're making 12, 13, 14 dollars an hour, now they find themselves out of work, making double. Maybe triple the amount that they were making before," Anderson said. "So, getting the workforce back I mean, I get it, I get it but it's, it's just financial. I mean, all of sudden you're not working and you are making triple the amount you were making before. It's hard to let that go. It really is."

Anderson said that the restaurant has brought back most of its employees but still need more help to fully reopen.

"Unfortunately, we just cannot pay some, you know, $25 an hour for everybody in the restaurant," he said. "So it's gonna be tough. It's going to be tough to see what happens."

Timbers Bar and Grill has all types of positions open at this time.