COMBINED LOCKS, Wis. (WFRV) – The restaurant industry was already severely damaged by the pandemic but now with the new labor shortage owners and staff are feeling a new type of pressure

“It’s pretty difficult,” said Johnathan Schinke, the Kitchen Manager at Kamps Bar and Grill.

Amanda Fenn, a bartender there said, “It’s been horrible.”

The labor shortage in the service industry isn’t contained to the front-of-house positions that we can all see.

It’s also affecting those in the back of the house like cooks and busboys and at Kamps, in Combined Locks they say they are down to just two cooks and it is causing some major issues for them.

“We’re trying our very best to make their experience as expedient and the highest quality that we can but we’re hobbled right now, this industry is hobbled,” said Schinke.

Across the board, service workers said they are exhausted.

“It’s depressing,” said Fenn. “You have to do it all over again and you have to keep smiling and keep being nice to people and people are just not understanding.”

Schinke said, “It’s incredibly difficult and it’s draining.”

Over in Appleton Mark’s East Side is also facing some staffing shortages.

Mark Dougherty, a Consultant for the restaurant said, “There’s a pent up demand and you can feel it at night, night’s have been pretty busy, busier almost than 2019. And we are struggling to find people to staff it to that level.”

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association said some restaurants still can not operate at full capacity, but this time it’s because there is not enough staff to cover the customers.

Susan Quam, Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said, “Restaurants can’t operate at full capacity because they don’t have enough staffing to meet the consumer demand that is out there. We are very concerned that despite the demand that we’re seeing we will lose another 10% of restaurants come this next winter.”