Businesses in North Alabama are struggling to find employees willing to work.
“What’s happening is we don’t have enough employees, because we’re having to compete with free money. That’s what it boils down to,” said Travis Smith, the owner of Bentley’s at The Outhouse.
The Hartselle restaurant isn’t alone. Many other local businesses are running their shops with little to no staff.
“I could see myself having to cut down in hours, or only being open a few days a week or just taking orders and doing special orders,” said Shannon King, owner of Fathead Fanny.
King operates her keto bakery all on her own.
“I’ll have something baking and the buzzer will go off, and I’ll have to tell them to hold on a minute, and I run back there,” said King. “I haven’t burnt anything yet, so I haven’t been too overwhelmed, but most of the time what I’ll have to do is close earlier and bake."
Her employees left the business. King believes she doesn’t have workers because of the stimulus check, unemployment benefits and the pandemic. One of King’s past employees told her she’d make more money off unemployment.
Smith said Bentley’s at The Outhouse is facing the same problem.
“We can’t get people who want to do the job or that have any type of training to do the job,” said Smith.
Before the pandemic, Smith said he had no problem hiring workers. Now, he posts advertisement after advertisement. He said he gets one or two applications a month.
There’s another problem Smith is having. He’ll hire workers and they’ll just stop showing up. When the restaurant has little to no workers, they’ve had to close early.
“There are lots of people right here in our town that are fighting the same battle that we’re fighting, and they’re just doing the same thing we’re doing,” said Smith.
What businesses are doing is pushing through. Smith and King said giving up is not an option.
“You either push forward or you have to quit, and I’m not going to quit,” said Smith.
Both businesses are actively looking for employees who want to work. You can walk in to get applications at both establishments.