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Restaurant struggles to find qualified workers

PeachTree Restaurant
Posted at 7:55 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 13:37:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Restaurants are ready to welcome customers back as the weather warms up and pandemic restrictions are lifted, but they're having a tough time finding employees.

"I advertised about a month ago catering and banquet servers at $20 an hour, minimum four hours. If you work two hours, you'll still be paid for four, and I have not received one applicant," explained Vera Willis, owner of PeachTree Restaurant.

Willis blames to lack of applicants on a combination of financial alternatives such as unemployment, income taxes and stimulus payments.

The business owner explained that because she can't find qualified workers, she had to close her restaurant on Mondays and Tuesdays.

"We're losing business because we are closed on Monday and Tuesday and so that hurts. In addition to that, the employees are earning overtime. I have a couple of employees that are in about 10 to 12 hours a week in overtime and that hurts," she said.

Willis estimates she's losing $2,000 to $3,000 each week.

According to the National Restaurant Association, at the end of 2020, industry sales were down $240 Billion. The industry also had 3.1 million fewer employees than expected.

Nationally, groups like Fight for 15 and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are advocating for a $15 minimum wage for workers.

Willis said she offers competitive wages for her employees, paying servers up to $12 an hour with tips and cooks up to $15 an hour.

The business owner said she's looking to hire two to three cooks but explains she hasn't found any qualified applicants.

Interested applicants can email the restaurant at or call 816-923-0099.