ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Garcia’s Kitchen is closed Monday and it’s not for Memorial Day. The local restaurant is still struggling to find workers to staff its six locations around Albuquerque.
People there say they still have not fully rebounded from the pandemic.
All Garcia’s locations are now closed every Monday.
“It was the first of May that we decided to do that and it was mostly because of staffing,” said Dan Garcia, vice president of operations at Garcia’s.
Garcia said this is the new price of doing business – the seemingly endless hunt for employees willing to get to work.
“So it’s been really hard to get back you know quality employees that know what they’re doing, especially in the kitchen,” Garcia said.
Garcia said before the pandemic, they had more than 200 employees at the six Albuquerque locations. The pandemic-related closures forced them down to around 100.
Even now, they are still sitting way behind those pre-pandemic levels. So they’ve had to get creative with cutting hours and closing on Mondays altogether.
“We had to reduce our menus, reduce certain items, and then we’ve had to increase our prices a little bit because we’re trying to give all these wages and stuff,” said Garcia.
They’re increasing wages to stay competitive. But he doesn’t know what else it will take to get workers through the door.
Initially, they were hoping closing on Monday would be temporary. But Garcia said it could be long-term if they are unable to hire those necessary staffers.