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Restaurant using $500 sign-on bonus to attract new hires amid staffing shortages

The Iowa Restaurant Association said 75% of restaurants say the greatest challenge from the impact of COVID-19 is the inability to find qualified employees.

ANKENY, Iowa — Restaurants continue to struggle to hire staff to keep up with the growing demand of customers as COVID-19 restrictions relax.

In fact, the Iowa Restaurant Association said 75% of restaurants say the greatest challenge from the impact of COVID-19 is the inability to find qualified employees.

At Jethro's BBQ, they're offering a $500 sign-on bonus to attract new hires because of staffing shortages.

"I believe they have to work 60 days to be eligible for the bonus," said Jeremiah Howland, the general manager at Jethro's in Ankeny.

The offer starts Friday and lasts until May 14.

Howland said their location has not been fully staffed since May of 2020.

"We deal with some angry guests a lot, but if I don’t have servers to take their sections there’s not a lot I can do," he said.

At the Trailside Tap, chef and owner, Mike Holman said staffing is very difficult right now.

"The hardest part for us is, actually, staffing so we can keep growing," explained Holman. "I think to be comfortable we need at least 10 hires to split up between the front and the back of the house.”

Holman opened the Trailside Tap in September of last year.

He said he's at the point where he'll hire someone on the spot if they are qualified. 

These restaurants aren't alone in their search for employees. Local 5 spoke with two other restaurants in the metro recently: Bubba Southern Comforts in Des Moines and Mi Patria in West Des Moines

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