Richland restaurant feels effects of sushi chef shortage

RICHLAND, Wash. – A Richland restaurant said they’re feeling the fallout of employee shortages as businesses across the nation are looking to fill open positions.

Shogun Teriyaki and Sushi had to slash their menu in half because they can’t find a sushi chef.

Server Jessica Burnett said they’ve been searching for over a month, since their previous chef told them he’d be leaving for a new job.

“We’ve been reaching out to people that we’ve known, people that know people who do sushi, we have even been looking as far as going outside of the state,” she added.

Burnett said as they’ve searched for a chef, they realized it’s a problem throughout Washington.

“It’s kind of all over the place, it seems like there’s a shortage of staff between restaurants, cooks, servers,” Jessica said.

Shogun, in Richland, has since closed down their sushi bar, which makes up about half of their menu.

Now, they’re relying on their kitchen to stay afloat.

“We’re just letting everybody know ahead of time we don’t have sushi and they’re like ‘oh my gosh I’m so sorry but that’s what I was calling for.’ We’ve lost quite a bit of business not having sushi since Sunday,” Jessica said.

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Burnett believes the staffing shortage could be to the expanded unemployment benefits.

“It’s not so much a scare of the pandemic, but it’s like I can stay home and I can still support my family and I can do whatever I want,” she said.

The restaurant also can’t hire just anyone who’s graduated culinary school, since sushi chefs handle and serve raw fish.

“It is absolutely an art form, it is not easy,” she said.

But, the employees are hopeful.

Burnett cited, if they can power through the pandemic, they can make it through this.

“Keep telling each other it’s gonna be okay, we’re gonna find somebody, we’re all doing our best to put the word out there. We just wanna be able to get the sushi bar opened back up and be able to give our customers what they’re looking for,” Jessica said.

The Richland restaurant is looking for a sushi chef, man or woman, and you can inquire about the position by visiting their Facebook page.