Kennewick restaurant shares struggles despite state reopening

KENNEWICK, Wash. – It’s quiet on Mondays at CG Public House in Kennewick, and has been since the pandemic restrictions started.

“Because it’s the slowest day of a restauranteur’s week,” Co-Owner Steve Simmons said.

Despite the state of Washington fully reopening and dropping most COVID-19 restrictions, Simmons said they haven’t returned to normal hours because they don’t have the staff to keep up.

“Looking everywhere and anywhere, we’re hiring people that we didn’t use to hire,” Simmons explained.

He said it’s a similar situation for restaurants across the Tri-Cities.

“We had no idea that coming out of COVID it was gonna be like this; there’s shortages of everything, so food’s going up, the cost of labor is going up, you know we have no choice but to raise prices. We’re paying more money than we used to, we’re offering sign on bonuses; anything and everything we can do to get somebody hired,” Simmons said.

The Kennewick restaurant also has a catering department, but it’s getting harder to take on events, which are their biggest money maker, without enough people to staff them.

“We’ll get three or four interviews lined up but then no one will show,” Simmons said.

He believes the issue stems from many factors, like fear of catching COVID-19, expanded unemployment or burnout.

“I think there’s people in our industry who just got tired of being jerked around, I mean, we laid them off, hired them back, laid them off again hired them back, cut their hours, you know it’s just there’s people that are just finished with that,” he said.

So, if you do choose to dine out this summer, Simmons said patience will be key.

“That’s exactly what I would ask for you know we’re dealing with things we’ve never had to deal with before. We’re very grateful for the people we do have because they’re working hard and we appreciate what they’re doing very much,” he said.

CG Public House is still hiring, they’re especially looking for cooks and delivery drivers.

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