If you're dining out and noticing open tables and long ticket times, you're not alone. Restaurant insiders say it's an industry-wide problem that stems back to the beginning of the pandemic.
- If you're dining out and noticing open tables and long wait times, first of all, you're not alone. Restaurant insiders say it is an industry wide problem right now that goes all the way back to the start of the pandemic. CBS 11's Brooke Rogers with why.
BROOKE ROGERS: Texas restaurants are allowed to be at full capacity, but many aren't, and not just because of safety measures. It's not for lack of trying, but a lack of labor.
ANNA TAUZIN: I've talked to so many restaurants that have been out top listing after top listing, using every site out there trying to find people. But because they can't hire, they can't really open up at 100%.
BROOKE ROGERS: Zee Aziz, owner of Bugatti Ristorante in Dallas says it's the biggest problem plaguing the industry at this point in the pandemic.
ZEE AZIZ: The conversation is the shortage of labor. Yes, that is definitely a big factor right now in this market.
BROOKE ROGERS: The Texas Restaurant Association says it is still trying to determine why, but believes there are several factors.
ANNA TAUZIN: When our restaurants were closed, there weren't a lot of restaurant jobs available. And so those workers then went and found other careers.
ZEE AZIZ: They went to construction site, or some other jobs, which pay more.
BROOKE ROGERS: Another is that many are still collecting unemployment.
ANNA TAUZIN: It's wonderful that our federal government was able to offer those kinds of benefits, but now we need people to come back to work.
BROOKE ROGERS: The Texas Restaurant Association says another problem is reservations, people making them and not showing up without canceling.
ANNA TAUZIN: Restaurants hold those reservations typically for about 15 minutes after reservation time. So if someone comes in looking for a table, you can't give them that table that's reserved.
The loss of reservations is causing a huge money issue for a lot of restaurants.
BROOKE ROGERS: And Tauzin says until the labor shortage improves, hungry Texans will have to wait longer than usual.
ANNA TAUZIN: Everyone out there that has kids, you want them to have a summer job, this is a really good industry to be in.
BROOKE ROGERS: Brooke Rogers, CBS 11 News.