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Omaha restaurants struggle to find employee's as business increases
The recent worker shortages have left businesses struggling to remain open.
According to CNBC, there are 10.9 million job openings unfilled across the country, which has strongly impacted the Omaha area. The Nebraska Restaurant Association gives several reasons for this, such as increased unemployment benefits leading to employees not wanting to go back to work.
One of the servers at Charleston’s in West Omaha, Corey Gauthier, shared some insights on what the restaurant is doing to keep their guests happy during this time of uncertainty.
“I think that Charleston’s has done so well with the worker shortage and finding employees because we have a strong culture here of teamwork. People get along well and we’ve always just had a good set of people here first and foremost,” said Gauthier. “Secondary things that we might do to keep people employed would be things like the referral bonus that we offer. We also offer a sign-on bonus at $400, which basically says you have to stay for a month or two to receive that.”
Charleston’s has kept itself together throughout this situation by being an established business. This massive turnover has been tough, but the people who have been there longer have been working hard to keep it what it was.
Another Charleston’s employee, Jack Ball, said the shortage has affected his work in some ways.
“We definitely had a pretty big staff shortage when this all started, but over time we’ve restaffed. I never had to work more hours necessarily, but I did have to work a lot harder by taking more tables and other things I wouldn’t normally do,” said Ball. “It has gotten a lot better as time went on.”
Several businesses have said they have not seen anything like this before. Managers in local restaurants spend a lot of time interviewing people who just never go back in for a second interview.
Restaurant owners have been working extremely hard to keep up with the high demand, but with the holidays coming up they are only going to get busier. It is a challenge to please customers with very little staff.
The Lack of Semiconductor Chips Causes Dealerships to Lose Inventory and Revenue
The global chip shortage is continuously getting worse, which is forcing automakers to temporarily close their factories. It is expected to cost the auto industry 210 billion dollars in revenue this year.
Matt Smock, an auto engineer at Chevrolet H&H, said how much this revenue shortage has cost them.
“We started feeling the effect of it earlier this year, probably February, and it has escalated throughout the year, gotten a lot worse. You drive through our lot right now and we have four brand new cars on the lot and before this all started, we had 350 new cars on the lot,” Smock said.
After witnessing the empty parking lot at Chevrolet, it was clear the lot was mostly filled with used cars. Prices have been rising within the used car industry since they do not have enough new cars to sell.
Kerli Kuuseoks, the Accounting Specialist at H&H Automotive, said she has seen a lot of major changes to the industry since the start of her job.
“It definitely is pretty crazy how much that number has changed since pre-COVID times. Fortunately, it will not last forever. We just need to be a little more pro-active, whether that’s as a customer or a dealership when buying vehicles,” Kuuseoks said.
In the first quarter of the year, the average new car price was $37,200. This number increased up to 8.4 percent soon after.
Another article released by the New York Times stated that Toyota had a slight increase for the quarter. However, its sales in September dropped tremendously after it was forced to tear down its global production.
Along with the microchip shortage, experts say other auto parts, such as tires are starting to be in short supply.
Advertisers Experience an Initial Fallout from 2020 Pandemic
Advertising has drastically changed many businesses in the Omaha area. They have been trying to figure out ways to adapt to these changes and stay current for the viewers.
Political ad spending and sales around the holidays helped to offset the losses that this industry faced in the first part of the year. It reached $139.8 billion total in 2020.
“What we have noticed is during the last year-and-a-half to two years, it’s a waiting period,” said Lemke. “What that means is that a lot of times your competition can’t keep up and they expire. It is an opportunity for us to grow.”
Lemke said Omaha Magazine is thriving during this period as the quality of advertisements continues to rise.
Lisa Obermeyer leads strategists with her home business, Stratosphere Media.
“COVID has changed our business drastically, but it’s coming back. There were some slumps when businesses closed and they’re not going to be promoting themselves,” Obermeyer said. “People were losing their jobs and businesses, so we have had to adjust like they have.”
A recent report from CNBC showed that social media ad revenues reached $41.5 billion last year, which made up 30 percent of all internet ad revenue.
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard 2021 Season
Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard is full of educational and fun experiences for the entire family.
The hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through December 23.
Benson Theatre gets a $6 million renovation years after it opened
The Benson Theatre is a historic building, and the staff worked alongside the Nebraska History Society to do renovations in the last year.
Amy Ryan, executive director at the Benson Theatre, began working on this project about 12 years ago, raising funds to open a community-styled venue.
The theatre originally opened in 1923 on 61st and Maple St., then shut down 30 years later. Many nearby businesses said this place was their second home until it became inoperative for many years.
Echelle Childers, director of operations, said her position has allowed her to become a part of Ryan’s vision.
“The renovation for the building started around March or April of 2020,” Childers said. “We are actually almost finished with everything now.”
This theatre has been an important part of Omaha for years, but with the inactivity it experienced Ryan wanted to make a change. Ryan raised $6 million to renovate this theatre for the community she calls home.
“We hoped it would bring something back to life, and not move away from something that could be so cool in such a spot that is community-based,” Childers said.
The Benson Theatre is built for dramatic productions, screen films and concerts. Paul Allen, Director of Communications, has a lot of concerts he’s looking forward to watching here.
“I have a music background, so I’m really looking forward to having bands, and having many shows here at the theatre,” Allen said.
Opening night was on Friday, Oct. 29th, and featured the 20th Century Blues production by Susan Miller. Staff members said they were thrilled by the amount of joy this renovation inspired. They had no idea what the turnout would be, and they’re looking forward to many more busy nights.
Interest Rates Will Continue to Rise in 2022
In the last year the housing market has faced competitive prices. Everyone is asking where this historically competitive market will go next. Home prices are expected to rise by 7.9 percent between the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022.
Shannon Bartling, realtor at Berkshire Hathaway, said building a new home would be the best idea for buyers right now. There is less competition with other buyers, it rarely gives up inspections and allows sellers to close when they want.
Dan Dixon, another Omaha realtor, said one of the major changes from the beginning of the year to now is simply the rise of property values.
“That is a factor of supply and demand. When supplies are as modest as they have been this year, people are comfortable,” Dixon said. “They have refinanced in low mortgage rate situations, and they are really enjoying their houses.”
Overall, there have been quite a few changes in the housing market since the start of the year. New construction is down right now and existing homes are still going strong, but the market is not as hot as it was in the spring.
All of the delays and uncertainties are holding people back from building and remodeling. Bartling predicts interest rates will go up next year and encourages people to start looking to buy houses sooner rather than later.
“Spring market will be busy and as far as the rest of the year goes, I think it will be strong because we are still in a housing shortage,” Bartling added. “There are still a lot of people that need to find homes.”
A recent report from the Census Bureau in August said that the Omaha metro area showed a much higher rate of growth between 2010 and 2020 than what most experts predicted. By national standards, housing prices in Omaha are very moderate compared to many other places in the United States.