‘A job seeker’s market’: Labor shortage hurting Southern Illinois businesses | Local News

‘A job seeker’s market’: Labor shortage hurting Southern Illinois businesses | Local News

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A shortage of cooks is forcing her to close the restaurant on Mondays, a day it has traditionally been open, so as to not overwork her staff.

It is not only Mason’s café that is looking for people. Stephanie Bishop, of the West Frankfort-based Moreland-Bishop organization — which includes 14 Southern Illinois McDonald’s locations — is looking to hire for each of her restaurants.

“It’s a trend for a couple of months. We are seeing an impact on applications coming into the restaurant,” she said.

She said her restaurants are trying a variety of tactics to entice applicants – even calling former employees to gauge their interest in working just a few hours each week. Around the region, both locally owned and chain restaurants are increasing wages and offering “sign-on” bonuses to new employees.

Bishop said while her restaurants can function with lower staff numbers, smaller teams can be challenging.

“It impacts our folks who are working. When our managers are not able to staff lunch peaks or other times where they would want to be, it’s hard. They can get through a tough week, but once you get two, three, four weeks of that, it really starts to wear on your people,” she said.

William Lo, founder of the Southern Illinois Eats Facebook page and general manager of New Kahala in Carbondale, said many of his peers are having the same problems: Few applicants and no-shows for interviews.

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