Not enough manpower: Holly Springs restaurant owner struggles to hire

Posted August 4, 2021 9:57 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2021 9:36 p.m. EDT

— There is a lot of uncertainty for business owners as the pandemic continues to surge on. Many have already closed and others are now struggling to hire staff.

The owner of two Triangle restaurants says she does not have enough staff to serve her customers.

Vieni in Holly Springs sits in the heart of downtown. On any day given day of the week, they're packed, but, the owner says she’s had to close her restaurant on some of her busiest days because she does not have enough manpower.

Vieni opened in March, 2020, in the middle of the pandemic.

“We all had to roll with the punches and they kept coming at us," owner Randi Cinelli said.

Cinelli said at first the struggle was getting people to come in.

“I never thought this would’ve happened and here it is, right in front of us and it’s starting all over again,” Cinelli said.

With a COVID vaccine available, she says customers are more comfortable dining in, but the problem now is that there’s not enough kitchen staff.

“We closed Vieni last Monday, and we’ve never closed a restaurant, and we closed VIVO two weeks ago on a Sunday,” Cinelli said.

Both restaurants reopened the following day and were only closed for one full day.

Head chef Guadalupe Suarez says in his 20 years of working in the industry, he’s never had this problem. Suarez says they're operating with only a third of their ideal kitchen staff and the impact is trickling down to customer service.

“We just are frustrated when have our wait times and we have empty tables, because we cannot fill those tables because we don’t have manpower,” Suarez said.

It’s a situation many business owners find themselves in. With the increase in COVID cases, Cinelli worries that it may make it harder to hire.

"We’re paying people to stay home still and I know there is great unemployment but we can fill those voids come here,” she said.

Vieni is currently looking for about 20 employees and their other restaurant, VIVO, in Raleigh, is also hiring.

If you’re interested, the owner says you can just stop on by.

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