Yardbird restaurant holds Chicago hiring event for 200 positions amid national worker shortage

Karen Jordan Image
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Yardbird restaurant holds Chicago hiring event amid national worker shortage
As national restaurant chain Yardbird prepares to open its Chicago location, the current labor shortage is making vacancies harder to fill.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A national worker shortage is causing problems for local companies trying to hire people.

A new federal report released Tuesday that job openings jumped to 11.2 million in July.

The numbers indicated that there are nearly two jobs available for every one person who's unemployed and looking for work, which for national restaurant chain Yardbird, the shortage makes staffing its upcoming Chicago location that more difficult.

The restaurant began the first of a two-day job fair Tuesday in hopes of filling nearly 200 open positions.

"I want to hire 25 servers. I want to hire 25 line cooks and prep cooks," said general manager TiJean Rodriguez.

Dorian Hudson attended the event in hopes of securing a position.

"I've worked everywhere in this industry," Hudson said. "From concession to fast-food to fine dining."

As restaurants continue to recover from the pandemic, Rodriguez said that recruiting and retaining staff is one of the biggest challenges. She said to stay competitive, places are offering bonuses and other incentives.

"They're looking for the culture of the restaurant," Rodriguez said. "They look for how well the company treats them. What kind of benefits are they going to get."

While 2022 is looking better for the restaurant industry, it still remains unstable. Some owners are reporting stagnant sales, while others say they've seen growth.

"[Restaurants are] doing more delivery, more carry out, more digital, interfacing, outdoor dining," said Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association. "That's what you have to do in the restaurant industry. Even in good times, you always got to keep reinventing yourself."

On top of employment challenges, the restaurant industry is still battling with supply chain issues that have that can drive up costs. In the meantime, Yardbird remains on track to open its Chicago location in late September.