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More Utah restaurants shorten hours due to extreme worker shortage

Posted at 5:15 PM, Oct 01, 2021

LAYTON, Utah — A worker shortage continues to plague the hospitality industry in Utah.

Drive across town and you’ll see ‘Help Wanted’ signs all over. Some businesses are now opting to close entirely on certain days, to avoid even more burn out.

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Jeff Ray, who owns Holy Smoke BBQ, says he’s doing something he’s never done in 15 years of owning a business: closing on Mondays. He said this is the only way he can give his staff a day off.

“Biggest problem is we just don’t have enough people, and nobody seems to be looking for a job,” said Jeff Ray.

This has been an issue for many industries throughout the pandemic, but for Ray, he says the issue has worsened.

Ray attributes part of his shortage to high school kids returning to school, carving into his staff.

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Many business owners hoped employees would return to work after the federal pandemic unemployment benefit of $300 ended in June.

For Ray, the ‘Help Wanted’ signs remain. He said while some restaurants are offering higher wages as an incentive, as a small business owner, he and many others aren’t able to do that.

Ray said they’re looking to hold a hiring fair for the first time and all people must do is come in and there’s a good chance they’ll be hired on the spot.