TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—It's a problem plaguing many local restaurants, finding workers as many communities continue faring the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owner of Arni's, Brad Cohen said this is one of the toughest obstacles he's faced as a business owner.
"Without a doubt. It's probably the most difficult hiring time in my career for sure," said Cohen.
It's a national issue. Several businesses are trying to overcome staff shortages.
"We've definitely made it easier for people not to work and everybody is hiring so we need people to get back to work," said Cohen. "When business is picking up it's been harder and harder to find people to work like we had say pre-pandemic."
Cohen said when the pandemic started his staff numbers dropped by about 25 percent.
"We've had to change hours at some of our stores," said Cohen. "Arni's has always been a store that's always been a store, at all of our locations, has always been open lunch and dinner. We have one store in Lafayette that's closed for lunches."
"It's not just Arni's, it's not just Lafayette, It's not just Indiana," said Cohen.
Owner of East End Grill, Scott Trzaskus said sales have been increasing for him but he wants a bigger staff to support demand.
"I always knew the restaurant would recover," said Trzaskus. "It was a matter of can we recover with the same people. The people are what made our restaurant meaning the employees so that was number one concern was making sure that they were able to make it out ok financially."
Trzaskus said the hardest part for him has been the uncertainty.
"It's a lot of change," said Trzaskus. " It's been a tough operating environment, it's been tough on the guest, it's been tough on the staff, just trying to put people at ease has been the biggest part of it."
Cohen said he hopes there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
"We just got to get back to some semblance of, you know we say it all the time, but some semblance of normalcy and get people back to work earning a wage," said Cohen.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national unemployment rate is down six percent since March and it continues to decrease. For more information on that click here.