QUINCY — Chuck Lankey, executive chef of the Patio Restaurant and Lounge, said in the last four weeks, his kitchen has only seen two applicants.
The five original employees that were brought in when the restaurant opened in March have continued to persevere but Lankey said there are openings for all positions.
“We just don’t really have any bank of people that are applying,” Lankey said.
The Patio is one of many food services businesses in Quincy that are trying to remain fully operational despite a diminished workforce.
Jeffrey Johnson, general manager of the Patio, said it is very important to keep the doors open given all of the COVID-related setbacks the business has faced over the last year.
“As a management team, we do everything it takes to make sure that not only are the needs of ownership met but also the needs of the community,” Johnson said. “People have made plans to come here to spend birthday parties, anniversaries and those sorts of things and we don’t want to miss out on that because we’ve already had one year of that.”
Although the Patio has managed to stay open, several other area businesses have experienced short-term closures.
PaPPo’s Pizzeria, which opened in October, announced via Facebook on Tuesday that it would temporarily close its doors due to the current staffing crisis.
“For clarification, this is a temporary situation that will be resolved,” the post read. “We will be reopening.”
Chicks on the River, 236 N. Front St., announced that they would be closed every Tuesday in May due to staffing issues. However, all other days would operate during normal business hours, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
TCBY, 1735 State St., announced in March that its lobby would be closed during times where there aren’t enough people to work. The frozen yogurt shop also had to close on April 28 for the day.
In response to these business setbacks, the Greater River Economic Development Foundation will be hosting a job fair on Wednesday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at the Quincy Town Center, formerly known as the Quincy Mall.
Angela Caldwell, director of workforce development for GREDF, said dozens of businesses will be there to take applications for hosts and hostesses, servers, cooks, bartenders, dishwaters kitchen managers and other food service positions.
“The unique thing is once an employee sends an application, they are applying to multiple positions at once,” Caldwell said. “We also have an on-the-spot vetting interview.”
Caldwell added that employers will range from fast food and locally owned restaurants to health services.
“Anything that has to do with food service will be there,” Caldwell said.