Local restaurants continue to struggle with worker shortages

Local News

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Like most restaurants during the pandemic, Aladdin Mediterranean Grill on Lakeland Drive was also forced to close during the height of COVID-19.

Although many restaurants are facing staffing shortages, the manager of Aladdin said they were fortunate to have about 70 percent of its staff return to the restaurant.

General Manager Sarrah Torres credits a loyal customer base for keeping the business open during last year’s shutdown. Torres said many customers took advantage of their carryout options and purchased gift cards even though restaurant goers were not able to dine in.

When asked why she thinks the Mediterranean Grill wasn’t affected by the worker shortage, she praised the owner for valuing his staff.

“Our owner, he takes very good care of his employees here. During the shut down if we needed toilet paper, if we were hungry, if we needed paper towels, he supplied us with everything that we needed. All we had to do was drive up here and he would bring toilet paper out to the car if we couldn’t find any, bring food to us, prepare food for us to keep it from going bad because we weren’t able to sell through it, he’s not going to let us go hungry either. I believe that alone helped us to retain the vast majority o our employees,” said Torres.

The manager said now that business is starting to increase they are looking to hire more people. Torres also said their reputation for caring about the staff has made the hiring process easier and believes the staffing shortage would end if restaurants treat their employees like real people and pay them a livable wage.

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