Upstate restaurants struggle to hire employees

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–Across South Carolina, more people are getting back to work after job security was impacted by the pandemic. But one industry is having trouble finding workers.

Along Main Street in downtown Greenville, you’ll find at least half a dozen “now hiring” signs on the doors of local restaurants. Owners say hiring help has been more difficult than ever.

Topsoil restaurant opened in Travelers Rest just six months before the pandemic hit.

“It’s very clear that people are more interested in coming to restaurants,” Wendy Lynam, one of the Topsoil owners, said.

She says people are starting to eat out again.

“With the amount of people now that want to come into restaurants we want to make sure our guests have a good experience,” Lynam said.

Normally, this would be a good thing. But Lynam says she can’t fill the open positions fast enough.

“We’re spending a lot of time talking to people and interviewing people and we are getting a lot of people applying,” Lynam said.

And she’s not the only one. At least half a dozen restaurants in downtown Greenville have “help wanted” signs, and outside of the city you’ll find even more.

“It’s been a very difficult month and a half trying to find people, but now every restaurant is hiring so the competition is pretty good,” Lynam said.

According to data from the Department of Employment and Workforce, in the month of March more than 600 people in Greenville County receiving unemployment benefits identified as former food services workers.

“Everybody is hiring because the world is back open again and with more people being vaccinated people want to come back out to restaurants. I think people miss the experience of dining out,” Lynam said.

Lynam says they’re looking to hire people who believe in their farm to table mission. And, she says, this may be a sign of the world returning to normal.

“So we’re all in this together, and I’m sure in the end we will all come out stronger,” she said.

Topsoil says it is hoping to expand its hours once it hires enough staff.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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