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Spokane restaurants work to overcome staffing shortages, shutdowns

Some businesses are closed certain days of the week because they have limited staff, while others are reopening for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many businesses are feeling the impacts of the current employee shortage. Some are closed certain days of the week because they have limited staff. While others are reopening for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Table 13 is the last of the nine Davenport restaurants to reopen. While they are still looking for additional help, Table 13 did manage to hire enough staff to begin serving guests again. 

Jessica Dringman with Davenport Hotels said it’s a big deal for all its restaurants to be back open. 

Like many businesses, hiring staff has been a challenge for Table 13.  There are currently more than 100 positions open across all Davenport departments. 

Dingman explained that incentives, like hiring bonuses, were key to building up the staff here for the reopening.  

"We're grateful to have our great staff coming back and the new staff that we're training as well," Dringman said. "In our culinary and kitchen departments we are offering hiring bonuses and just working hard to offer great incentives and benefits. So we're still working to hire. We want to get to open seven days a week, but for now we're open five days a week.” 

Reopening a business when things are still uncertain cannot be easy. But Dringman said their strategy is to take things day by day and follow guidance from local government.  

The Historic Davenport Sunday brunch took a pause during the pandemic.  

Dringman said they expect it will make a comeback during the holidays, but that also hinges on hiring and training staff for that service. 

Many businesses are feeling the impact the current employee shortage. 

Owner of David’s Pizza, Mark Starr, announced this week it will be closing on Sundays because of this.

"I started off with close to 27 people, then the pandemic hit and now I've got 11," Starr said. 

Word spread quickly about closing on Sundays. 

In just three days, his inbox was flooded with emails from people sharing their support and their time. Some people offered to work for him on a temporary basis just so David’s can reopen on Sunday.  

“We had a husband and wife say that they would be happy to volunteer, until we are able to figure out this labor thing," Starr said. "I had a gentleman say if I would give him a 40 hour a week contract and paid $20 an hour in that contract, he would consider coming to work here. “ 

Starr told KREM 2's Amanda Roley he is humbled by how many people have contacted him. 

He said what they need to reopen on Sundays are people. Meaning, if you are serious about returning to work, he asks you to bring a resume or even a brief history of your work experience.