Indiana hospitality industry struggling with hiring issues to meet returning demand


INDIANAPOLIS — There is good news for Indiana’s hospitality industry, business leaders say the state is progressing well in its economic recovery. The bad news? They are struggling to hire to meet the demand.

“Hiring to secure new employees has been atrocious,” detailed Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA). “Right now we have a lot of management positions available.”

Patachou Incorporated will be holding a job fair April 15 for roles at all of their locations. It will be both in person and virtual. The first session will go from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their Napolese location on East 49th Street. The following session will happen at Cafe Patachou next door and will go from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We are still finding it hard to find people who want to come back to work at the restaurant industry,” explained Patachou Inc. Marketing Director Maddy Dickerson.

“People that work in the front of the house, people that work in the back of house, cooks, hosts, managers, it will run the gamut. We are willing to put in the resources to find people who want to work for us, and are willing to work for us for a long time.”

The sentiment is being echoed across the hospitality community. InRLA is tying the issues directly to improved state and federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic. They say the Department of Workforce Development is unable to make sure people are looking for work under current pandemic regulations.

“We did a job fair, and we had 120 people RSVP and respond,” said David Dunn, president and COO of Dunn Hospitality group, “Of that, we qualified 40 that we wanted to set appointments with. Out of the 40, not a single person came to the interview.”

Dunn Hospitality Group opened a new Hyatt hotel at The Yard in Fishers shortly before the pandemic struck. They are still looking to hire.

“Today I’m not competing against other hotels, I’m competing against the federal government,” Dunn says of hiring new employees. “We are getting close to a point where we it’s going to be difficult to accommodate the demand because I can’t staff the hotels adequately enough to accommodate them.”

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