Businesses Still Looking for Help in the Branson Area

by: Jacob Blount and Ivie Macy, Ozarks First

Businesses in Branson are still struggling to get fully staffed, forcing some restaurants to change how they operate.

“To have a chance to just catch their breath and rest because we know that this is just the calm before the storm because we know summer in Branson is absolutely crazy,” said Brandon Norris, general manager of Mel’s Hard Luck Diner.

Because of short staffing issues impacting the community, Norris said the restaurant is temporarily closed on Sundays and Mondays for the next few weeks.

“We normally carry a staff around 70 people,” said Norris. “Right now I think we have 56 people.”

Norris said they are taking time to give their staff some rest since they have been working non-stop since Spring Break.

“I mean, it’s not as extremely busy as it was the first part of March when we opened up,” said Norris. “I mean, we set records for the amount of business we’ve done, but we’ve seen a lot of… you just can’t train people properly and bring people on.”

Over at Rocco’s Pizza, they are only doing drive-through right now because of labor issues.

“We’ve just had a real lack of employees and things like that,” said Matthew Stecklein, the co-owner of Rocco’s Pizza. “We’re not seeing a whole lot of workforce out there right now. I haven’t even had any interviewees or anything like that.”

Stecklein said they were forced to temporarily close their indoor dining because of staffing issues.

“We’ve got it on our sign out there,” said Stecklein. “We’ve got it on Indeed, Monster, everything you can think of, Facebook, Twitter. All that kind of stuff and we’re just not seeing any interest at all.”

The unemployment and lack of international and student workers in the area are making business owners stress about the anticipated busy summer.

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