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Lack of workers hitting bottom line at Flathead Valley restaurant

Posted at 2:38 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 16:38:57-04

Several restaurants in the Flathead Valley area, like Taco Del Sol, are experiencing staffing shortages.

"We are currently closing two hours early every day because we do not have enough staff, to fully staff and give the customer service that we want to," said Denise Cofer, who's been the owner/operator of the Kalispell Taco Del Sol for 12 years.

Cofer told MTN News that this is the first time the restaurant has experienced staffing issues in the fall and that the lack of staffing puts a personal strain on her family.

"It gives us less family time. This business is owned by my husband and me, and our daughter and son in law. And we have lives too! The restaurant is a wonderful thing, but it's not our life," explained Cofer.

This lack of staffing forces the restaurant to close it's doors at 7 p.m. instead of the usual 9 p.m. something Cofer attributes to the competitive wages in the Flathead Valley's job market.

Jordan Nelson with Express Employment Professionals, a staffing company in Kalispell, agrees with Cofer that competitive wages are very attractive when a person is choosing a job.

"In Kalispell, there are 50,000 people available for work, when you have 2,000 open jobs and 2,000 people looking for work, you don't match up unless it's all a perfect job," explained Nelson.

Taco Del Sol pays $10.00 an hour and while Cofer would like to raise wages, she would need to dramatically increase food prices to do so.

Nelson suggests those paying minimum wage could offer employees ways to grow within their business.

"Being able to offer advancement opportunities, maybe taking them from a minimum wage employee who wants to continue to grow in this industry. How can you give them supervisory responsibilities," said Nelson.

Cofer hopes to have this staffing issue resolved as quickly as possible. If you are interested in working for the Kalispell franchise you can stop in at the location 2445 Highway 93 North, Kalispell.

Taco Del Sol is a Missoula-based restaurant chain with franchises located around the state of not believe that the Missoula chains of Taco Del Sol are experiencing staffing issues at this time.