Houston restaurant struggles to fill vacant positions as COVID pandemic continues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Business is good at Tony's Mexican Restaurant.

The restaurant has been a popular staple for delicious Mexican food for the past 30 years near 610 North Loop and Ella Boulevard.

As we enter another year of the COVID-19 pandemic, managers said they are finding it more difficult to fill the vacant positions.

"There's a lot of people who have left because of the pandemic," said assistant manager Antonio Vega.

Vega said they have had many employees quit, which has put a strain on the employees still working there.

"It puts a lot of strain on the employees because we do need the help," said Vega. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done, and we don't want to overwork everybody."

Tony's Mexican Restaurant has two locations including one on the Katy Freeway. Vega said it takes 110 employees from cooks, hostesses and wait staff to run their location on Ella smoothly.

Right now, they're at 87 employees, and he said finding new workers to fill the spots is hard.

"They come and apply, and there's a lot of people that don't show up," he said.

Vega said they're paying more money for various jobs and offering health insurance to get people in the door and hired.

Managers said they are also willing to pay for GED and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to help further employees' education, but they say that has not helped either.
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