With Americans resuming parts of their lives that were interrupted during the pandemic, companies are not short of queuing customers. For many, the problem remains finding workers.
Texas Bistro saw a boom in demand for events such as internal gatherings, anniversaries, and wedding rehearsals as postponed weddings resumed in 2020.
“Our biggest business wasn’t sales, it was a combination of some record-breaking months here,” said Collin Campion, head chef and owner of Texas Bistro. “The last three months have been excellent. So our business has grown since Abbott reopened the state. “
Campion said he is trying to keep wages competitive while keeping businesses profitable.
The new American restaurant has 22 employees with three vacancies – part-time hosts, waiters, and part-time kitchen staff.
Line cooks get paid $ 15 an hour, the other cook gets a salary, and bartenders get tips and are paid by waiters.
Campion said he would see if menu prices might need to be increased to offset the wage increase.
Some of this could be influenced by minimum wage increases that could come from the federal government, he said.
“We pay attention to whether the minimum wages rise and how this will affect restaurants, how we compensate for the facade of the house and how we distribute the money,” said Campion. “The waiters make pretty good money, we have a tiny kitchen crew, so we try to cater to them as best we can and make them financially very competitive to work here.”
It’s not just restaurants that fill positions while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
Go Green Botanicals also has recruitment issues and needs an entry-level employee for its New Braunfels location and a general manager for the upcoming second location.
Go Green Botanicals sells CBD and THC infused products. CBD and THC are natural compounds in cannabis or hemp plants that do not give the user the same psychoactive effects as marijuana.
Products include gummy bears, flower and CBD oils.
Your beginners start at $ 13 an hour – a recent increase from $ 12 an hour – and follow a bonus structure.
Owner Ben Sanchez said they think their wages are fair and are looking for the best employees they can find.
“We have something alive for themselves, for their family,” said Sanchez. “However, we don’t want them to get aggressive and we want to make sure they are offering the right product to the customer and not just ditching something like ‘this can help you’ when it may not.”
Sanchez said he is watching the wage discussion but would prefer not to raise product prices in order to raise wages.
“Right now our prices are very cheap for our customers,” said Sanchez. “If we had to increase wages, we would have to increase our product prices, and I don’t want that. I know inflation is there and it’s happening faster than we expected, but we’d have to raise product prices and we really don’t want to do that to our customers. “
Ben and his wife Karina, co-owner, said they run much of their website and other duties without any extra help, which was difficult.
“We just stopped putting so much energy and effort into finding people and we took care of it ourselves,” said Ben Sanchez. “We are only looking for the right person, she is motivated, self-motivated, understands cannabis and has a passion for it.”
Karina Sanchez said that many of the applications she receives are not qualified because many are applying for unemployment benefits.
“We got a lot before COVID because this was an interesting job and a lot of people were trying to get in,” said Karina Sanchez. “This time we hardly get any applications. We got two but you can see that they submitted the resume to get unemployment, it was much more difficult this year.
While the talk about wages continues, Campion said he is watching the headlines and knows they need to raise their prices in order to pay competitive wages – as elsewhere.
“We still want to be as competitive as possible with all the competition here in town, but everyone is slowly going to raise their prices, from the big fast food restaurants to all the corner shops,” said Campion. “We’re going to be competitive, but we have to try to be profitable and keep paying our bills.”
Inflation is not just limited to wages.
Campion said they are also grappling with supplier changes and rising prices for products from beef to to-go containers.
One menu item is the beef tenderloin, but Campion said they may need to raise the price or find a different cut of meat.
“So we see bottlenecks in various products and consumables that we use here on a broad front at the rising prices,” said Campion. “Like everyone from Amazon to the various farms and ranches – where all these products come from – all of this increases, so our expenses increase. “
At Go Green Botanicals, suppliers are seeing increasing demand while dealing with their own shortages, resulting in slow production. Ben Sanchez said his store will place large orders just in case production slows.
“Production is really slow and is happening all over the country,” said Ben Sanchez. “Due to the lack of employment and production, we run out of products for a good minute.”