Restaurants make tough decisions when faced with labor shortage

Mary's Family Restaurant in Appleton says they'll close one of their two locations due to shortage of staff (WLUK).

APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- Unemployment in Wisconsin is as low as it has ever been with a rate of 2.8 percent in April. But there's a downside to it that many don’t think about.

Some businesses are having trouble finding employees.

Cinder's in Appleton made a decision that wasn’t easy.

“We decided to close on Sundays," said Cinder’s general manager Lynda Vandenboogart. “We've been actually thinking about it for a long time.”

Even with a large sign outside, the restaurant is still having trouble finding workers.

“There’s not a lot of people that are applying,” said Vandenboogart.

Vandenboogart has been with the company since it opened 12 years ago. She says her employees are adjusted to working short-staffed but everyone needs a day off.

“All of the businesses are hiring, all fighting for the same employees basically,” said Vandenboogart. “The same quality employees.”

Another longtime Appleton business, Mary's Family Restaurant, says it's closing one of its two locations because it can't find enough employees.

"The strain now is showing on the other end,” said James Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board. “And when businesses can’t find the people that they need, then they go away."

Golembeski checked the agency's website on Tuesday. It showed listings for 1,011 food prep and service jobs in Northeast Wisconsin and it's not just restaurants looking for workers.

“Jobs are not filled are up and down the spectrum,” said Golembeski. “From high paid engineering, to high paid IT people, down to that basic level in the grocery store, in the food and beverage industry."

He says the best and quickest solution: attract people to the area.

But every business must decide what to do when faced with the shortage.

“It's a pretty common thing right now for restaurants to be able to keep up. Changing their hours or closing for a day,” said Golembeski.

A side dish of challenge to go along with the main course of low unemployment rates.

Vandenboogart says she believes customers have been understanding about being closed on Sundays.

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