This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hiring issues continue to keep the pressure on Indiana’s restaurants and kitchens. Hospitality experts say those companies are competing with every industry in the state for a shrinking number of employable workers.

According to the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA), there are only 98,000 Hoosiers currently seeking employment in the state, and that is across all industries. They are also noticing more baby boomers who are retiring.

“We simply just don’t have enough people for the available jobs,” said Patrick Tamm, InRLA president and CEO. “We need to improve our legal immigration system and our visa programs. Frankly it’s as challenging as winning the Powerball to get people in. We have been quietly having conversations with congressional leaders. President Biden, I think announced last week, that the US would take 100,000 Ukrainians which is great. We could take 100,000 Ukrainians in the state of Indiana today.”

The struggle is forcing companies to get creative in their pitches and pay scales. Tamm says some industries are seeing major wage improvements.

Companies like central Indiana restaurant cornerstone Patachou Inc. are hosting job fairs. They say employers can no longer just offer a stable pay check every two weeks, but that they need to offer the right culture as well. Patachou employs a director of Culture and Employee Development. His job is to make sure their restaurants are an enticing and rewarding place to work.

“I think that’s what people want out of work. They don’t want a job. They want a place they can really feel like they are making an impact, or feel like they matter,” said Ryu Teramoto, the director of Culture and Employee Development for Patachou.

“We look at our staff as consumers. Our staff is as important to us as our guests, and we need to cater to them the way we cater to our guests. I have friends that work in other industries, and they don’t have access to the benefits that we do at Patachou.”

Patachou will host a job fair on Thursday, March 31 at two locations and with two time periods.

The first time slot is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Napolese Pizzeria on East 49th Street. The second interview slot will be next door at Cafe Patachou from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.