Small Restaurants in Las Vegas Area Increasingly Under Threat of Closure Due to Labor Shortage | Local
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – The hospitality industry continues to suffer from a labor shortage, and experts said mom and pop restaurants are losing potential employees to large corporations.
In Henderson, Sin City Smokers Barbecue and Catering owner Steve Overlay first told us about the pandemic pressure on his small business in December.
âWe are a community of fighters,â Overlay said in December. “I think we’ll be fine, but it’s been tough.”
After four years serving hungry customers on Green Valley Parkway, the 40-year barbecue industry veteran has had to shut down his restaurant for good. He couldn’t find enough workers.
âThe difficulty in finding people who wanted to work became more of a burden than we could handle,â Overlay said.
Many of the interviewees he had scheduled collapsed against him.
“I’ve probably scheduled, I’ll say, about 150 interviews over the last year, and I’ve talked to people who seemed really excited, said they knew where we were, that they would be there, and thank you very much. And then you sit there and wait and no one shows up. “
While it was difficult to find people to work, Overlay had to contend with soaring product prices.
âYou’re so busy trying to run your business that you can’t spend all of your time recruiting,â Overlay said.
This is a common problem among small businesses or family businesses, said Mark Steele, a restaurant services consultant in Las Vegas, who also founded the Restaurant Hospitality Institute.
âLots of ma and pa restaurants, they don’t have a lot of giant infrastructure like they do on the Strip,â Steele said. âThey have a whole HR department, so they’re able to go out and actively recruit people. But when you look at what we’ll call a ma and pa restaurant, the manager does everything. Right? he does the daily operations, does the planning, manages the employees, now we expect him to be a recruiter? “
That’s why mom and pop restaurants are more at risk of closing due to the worker shortage, according to Steele.
âA lot of these managers who work in these restaurants, or families who own these restaurants, you know, it’s not their forte, going out and recruiting people,â Steele said.
Steele said mom and pop restaurants are facing the most severe impacts of this employee shortage as the supply of restaurant positions far exceeds demand.
Thousands of jobs have recently been opened on the Strip which may have absorbed much of the workforce from out-of-band properties. Strip restaurants often pay more, factoring in tips, and often provide employee benefits.
âIn the past, we’ll call it five months, we’ve opened three big casinos, and where are these people from? These people are not from the sky. They are not moving to Las Vegas in the midst of the pandemic. They come from mid-level restaurants, âSteele said.
So what can we expect for the future? Steele said his likely restaurants across the valley would raise prices due to the hardships they face.
âThe restaurant business has always been a very … very, very tight margin to start with, so now it’s only going to get tighter,” Steele said.
Overlay retains its brand, Sin City Smokers, and encourages customers to follow its social media pages for updates.
âI might even go out and cook a little more, but I also want to do some things where I go out and help some of the charities, and some of the local events and fundraisers and things, and help people and spread the love the barbecue, âOverlay said.
Overlay said he suspected all no-show interviews may have been related to current unemployment benefits and job search requirements from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) from Nevada.
FOX5 is awaiting a response from DETR on whether they see an increase in complaints from hiring managers about applicants turning down job offers. We will keep you posted.