As dozens of restaurants prepare to make their DFW debut in the coming months, owners and chefs are facing a crucial problem: there aren’t enough cooks, servers, and bussers to staff these forthcoming eateries.
According to Dallas restaurateur Bill Bayne, who operates Fish City Grill, the staffing shortage was so dramatic as he prepared to open the Richardson outpost of his seafood restaurant that its kitchen manager approached other local restaurants in search of employees looking to pick up extra shifts, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The Morning News report links a number of issues outside the restaurant industry that could be contributing to the staffing shortage, namely a lack of public transportation options in far-flung burbs like Frisco and McKinney, where restaurants are opening at a rapid clip. There’s also the issue of pay rates in the industry, which have stayed stagnant as housing, food, and transportation costs have risen steadily.
This restaurant staff shortage isn’t just limited to Dallas, though. As it prepared to host the Super Bowl earlier this year, restaurants in Houston were practically begging for employees to serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors that would flood into the city. Later, Houston bar mogul Bobby Heugel launched a nationwide search to bring new talent into the city, citing a “too small” labor pool. In Colorado and other states where marijuana is legal, workers have left the restaurant business in droves to take jobs in the booming cannabis industry.
At present, the restaurant staff shortage doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and neither does the number of new eateries that open up on a near-daily basis in Dallas-Fort Worth.