South Bay bars, restaurants struggle to fill staff amid reopenings

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Many bars and restaurants in Santa Clara County are expanding service as part of the move back into the less restrictive Red tier.  

But finding enough skilled bartenders and servers to come back has been a struggle so far.

Out of work off and on for the past year, veteran bartender Tiffany Dutra is happy to be back at work at San Jose’s Branham Lounge.  

Suddenly, as bars and restaurants reopen, there are new job opportunities but not enough bartenders, servers and cooks to fill those jobs, many of whom have moved on, says downtown San Jose restaurant owner Eric Nielsen.

The owner of the popular 55 South and SP2, Nielsen says finding enough people to accept part-time work has been and continues to be a struggle and says the pandemic has also resulted in a kind of creative brain-drain in the industry.

At the Branham Lounge, Dutra said some of her fellow bartenders are in re-training for other lines of work while still others are reluctant to return to a job that might not last.

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