Food industry struggles to find people to hire

GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT)- (06/11/19)- Just last week -- Wahlburgers was still advertising to hire workers for the new restaurant that will open in Flint Township.

It's a problem many food industry businesses are facing.

It's lunchtime at the Starlite Diner in Burton.

The newest restaurant in the Starlite franchise is busy-- as cooks prepare food for a hungry lunch crowd.

Tuesday's shift is fully staffed, but overall- owner Kosta Popoff is still looking for more help to make sure customers are getting the kind of service he wants to provide.

"It's tough to even get people to come in and apply," said Starlite owner, Kosta Popoff

Popoff, who along with his family- has been in the food service industry for more than 5 decades, says there is a misconception about the type of worker restaurants like his are looking for.

"When you have to serve, you have to serve properly. So I think the problem is more are we finding help that is skilled enough to perform duties right now," Popoff said.

Starlite is not the only restaurant having difficulty in finding the right mix of employees to stick around.

Restaurants all across the country are also struggling.

Some attribute it to a low national unemployment rate, an aging population and millennials lack of interest in these types of jobs

"I think young people are little more tech savvy, so do they want to work in a hard labor type of environment like a restaurant or can they work for some tech sort of company and do things in a different way," Popoff said.

So Popoff says finding good employees requires patience and thinking outside the box.

"We're just really focusing on training. We sent our manager to Zimmerman's training school in Ann Arbor for 3 days. She did a training session there, so we brought that back to Flint to help out the server and back of the house it's usually me or Jason training," Popoff said.