Raleigh restaurant co-owner asking customers for ‘grace’ during industry-wide labor shortage

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Cowfish, the burger/sushi fusion restaurant in Raleigh’s North Hills development has drawn in diners for years with its creative menu, outdoor patio, and upbeat atmosphere. Now, co-owner Marcus Hall needs to draw in employees.

“It was seemingly overnight we woke up and, ‘Oh my goodness, things are opening back up – let’s start hiring,'” said Hall. “You look and the pool is dry.”

Hall certainly isn’t alone.

The labor shortage is being felt in almost every customer-focused industry, from retail to food, airlines and even airport security.

“In all your years’ experience have you ever seen a need for labor like this?” asked CBS 17’s Bill Young.

“We have never, outside new openings, I have never had a ‘now hiring’ sign hanging,” said Hall.

Hall then referenced the large picture window overlooking the patio.

“Right now, in that glass right there, right now you’ll find a ‘now hiring’ sign.”

While Hall, and other restaurant owners and managers like him, are dealing with this need for workers, he is asking customers to be kind.

“You may come out to eat and see a bunch of empty tables and the restaurant quoting you an hour, two hours wait. That is certainly not our desire to have an open business and turn business away,” said Hall. “We need to love on each other, and loving on each other is recognizing that the restaurants, retailers, and their team members are fighting hard. They are working so hard.”

While Hall has filled most positions for the front of the house, it is kitchen employees that he needs the most. The same need for kitchen staff is being seen at a lot of restaurants in central North Carolina, from fine dining to fast food.

Some restaurants are offering bonuses for new hires, others are offering financial incentives for existing employees who recruit new employees.

In the meantime, Hall will do whatever is necessary to get The Cowfish back to pre-COVID staffing.

“Now hiring sign is one, doing open interviews between 2 and 4 p.m. every day of the week is another,” he said.

If you would like to work at The Cowfish, click here to apply.

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