Boots & Sabers

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0810, 15 Apr 21

Wisconsin Businesses Struggle to Find Employees

It’s awfully comfortable to be out of work for a lot of people right now. Enhanced unemployment benefits and welfare are retarding the economy.

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – Many restaurants and hotels are eager to welcome back customers and clients, but it’s hard to fully reopen when you’re not fully staffed.


Sheila Arredondo, owner of Silly Serrano in Eau Claire, has been looking to hire another cook and cashier for months.


“It just blows my mind how I can put out an ad and it can be weeks or months before somebody even applies for the position,” Arredondo said.


She’s spent a lot of money to advertise on and posted job openings on Facebook, but without applicants, it’s put a strain on the restaurant’s staff and service.


“My husband and I work a lot more.  We’re always the first ones here.  We’re the last ones here.  I think it’s hard sometimes because customers come in and they don’t understand why their food’s taking a little bit longer,” Arredondo said. “They’re not getting the service we really want to give.  It’s not because I’m trying to go with a really skinny staff.  It’s because I’m forced to.”


0810, 15 April 2021


  1. Mar

    My question, and maybe Kevin can answer, but isn’t this a continual problem for restaurants, even pre-pandemic?
    Likewise other jobs that have a high turnover rate.

  2. steveegg

    One of the George Webb’s near my house cut their hours again, from 6 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday/6 am Friday-10 pm Sunday to 6 am-3 pm Monday-Tuesday/6 am-10 pm the rest of the week. Mind you, this is the chain that still claims to be open 23 hours 59 minutes daily.

    It’s only going to get worse as people realize they can stay on/go back to the main “emergency” federal “pandemic” unemployment program, complete with the $300/week sweetener, and stay there through (at least) Labor Day, even if they previously exhausted their eligibility for that program. Wreckovery Summer VI (give or take a Roman numeral), here we come.

  3. Merlin

    This is proving to be a very rough reopening for many industries. We entered the scamdemic as a very healthy company and have been very fortunate to have maintained our client base as everyone contracted to survive. One of my greatest fortunes is not having any of my clients drill me through the legalized theft of a reorganization or outright bankruptcy. AR times grew a bit out of necessity and we had to be somewhat flexible about it, but even those issues are starting to ease as everyone begins to pick up again.

    The trouble now is that supply chain capacity is lagging demand for material resources, damned near everything is only available by allotment, shipping in-transit times are growing, and price hike intervals are way too short. So short that some of these supply chain links that did survive are going to encounter cash flow issues that stall their ability to ramp back up to meet demand. While we didn’t lose clients, not all of our vendors survived. That further limits supply chain options. If all of the scamdemic restrictions came off today we’re still months away from being able to run at full capacity. The demand is there. Capacity is not. Yet.

  4. Kevin Scheunemann

    In 25 years at Kewaskum DQ, I never had to put a hiring sign out.

    We have several hiring signs screaming for last 40 days because we are also hiring for new West Bend location to train now.

    Not much is coming in.

    We are doing better than most restauranys that can’t hold their open hours because od staff. Mainly because we are local on site management.

    These big corporate employers…where franchisee has not set foor in town for years because they may have hundreds of units, or corporate owned are struggling.

  5. Mar

    Thanks Kevin and Merlin… Very interesting perspectives.
    Now, from an employee stand point.
    I’ve been out of work for about 2 months and i.make no apologies for it.
    I’ve been on unemployment and I will say this, Arizona’s unemployment does not reward you for being out of work.
    I’ve applied for 2 jobs, a big box store and a family run business. Both require background checks. The box store took 6 weeks to do the background. At the family owned shop, I’m still waiting on them to start the process and they really want me to work there.
    So, from my standpoint, I do want to work, but I am not going to bust my butt if potential employers are not willing to do the same.

  6. Merlin

    It’ll happen, Mar.

    As the overall economy picks up businesses that have survived still need to overcome the effects of an entire year’s worth of restricted cashflow. In general the time interval for cash turnover has grown. A dollar spent on materials or consumables today may not return to you (with your profit) for 90-120 days. Pre-scamdemic it was typically a 30-45 day turn. If a business blew through their cash reserve and had to tap their existing lines of credit just to stay operational over the past year it’s no longer available to fund their restart. For businesses in that condition their recovery is going to take longer and the margin for error in decision making is going to be very thin. There are still ways this can all go sideways for businesses. Now would be a good time to make available some of that federal PPP money that has yet to be dispersed.

  7. Mar

    Merlin, are different parts of the country, where lockdowns were more strict having worse times resupplying or getting resupplied?
    I imagine that big companies, like those in California, seemed to be operating normally, like Smithfield, Miller and Budweiser.
    And essential businesses did ok. I know restaurants were hurt bad but most survived.
    But what about the small shops and factories? How are they doing in severely restricted parts of the country?

  8. Merlin

    Kevin would know more about food service in general and retail food service in particular, but I’ve always been involved in business to business manufacturing. Our supply chains have increasingly become truly global and many of our “American” vendors are themselves sourcing and private labeling product whose components originate overseas. Rarely was that ever a problem prior to the WuFlu. Since then foreign governmental pandemic politics have been kinking the supply chains in addition to whatever has been going on here at home. The Europeans have been particularly anal from the very beginning.

    The cold weather that recently hit Texas was more devastating than most people realize. Texas is the dominant domestic chemical source that most of North America depends on for manufacturing damned near everything. Some of those companies will have to rebuild to current environmental standards they used to have grandfather protections from, so there’s more costs involved for them than patching some pipes and shipping product again. If very many of them decide not to reopen at all we’ll have lingering price and availability issues for everything that uses chemicals… and everything uses chemicals of one kind or another.

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