Local restaurants hiring as they look to reopen

Owners expect for it to get even busier now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out and cases are decreasing.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's another busy day at Sal's Mexican restaurant in northeast Fresno.

"We are hiring and we are looking for line cooks, hostesses, cashiers, servers, dishwashers. All positions in the restaurant are available," said Lorraine Salazar, co-owner of Sal's Mexican Restaurants.

The restaurant is hiring for positions at three locations in Fresno, Selma, and Madera.

Owners expect for it to get even busier now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out and cases are decreasing, meaning restaurants are inching closer to reopening.

They're hoping to train staff now.

"Right now the restaurant business, we need people. we need good qualified people that can come in and be servers, be line cooks, bussers, bartenders. right now we're all gearing up, the way that it looks, that maybe we can open in the near future," said Chuck Van Fleet, owner Vino Grille & Spirits.Pay starts at $14.

Owner Chuck Van Fleet said it's been challenging hiring people.

Some are uneasy about not having full-time work and coming off unemployment.

"It's difficult, we had this problem back in the beginning of this when people were making so much money that they were just being paid to stay at home. This isn't working for us, we need bodies," Van Fleet said.

They've seen restaurant employees transition to food delivery jobs or grocery store positions during the pandemic. The restaurant has also seen fewer college students applying.

Even Burger King is offering a sign-on bonus to eligible employees.

It's been almost a year since the pandemic shut down. Many businesses were forced to lay off staff or people had to take time off to care for kids.

Now the owners believe it's time to fill their employee rosters.

"This opens up the opportunity for what I call our younger generation, our youth, to be able to come into this industry. We are the industry of first opportunity and we are the industry of second chances as well," Salazar said.

Sal said it's taken steps to keep employees and customers safe for future dining. Pay for positions starts at $14.

Sal's job fair is Monday, February 15 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am at the Selma location.
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