Owner Of Carly’s Bistro In Phoenix Struggling To Hire Staff As Patrons Return
Arizona restaurants and bars have had an especially difficult time staying afloat during the pandemic, even as many were able to transition to offering mostly takeout orders.
Now, as more potential customers have been vaccinated, the ability to venture out and sit down and eat at your favorite spot is becoming more of a reality again.
But many restaurants are having a hard time getting former employees to return or to find new workers to replace them.
One of those restaurants is Carly’s Bistro on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix. The owner is Carla Wade Logan, and The Show spoke with her about how her business has weathered the pandemic.
How have you weathered the pandemic, especially as it relates to your employees?
So, we're a small family run business and we have an incredible core group of employees that have been amazing throughout. So when the shutdown happened in March, we shifted to the takeout model only and had to scale back our staff, as did, you know, every restaurant in the Valley. So, we made some modifications to our concept and that lasted about three months. And then, of course, when we reopened, we were at initially 25% capacity and then 50% capacity. We brought back as much staff as we could. And there were, of course, some staff that needed to remain at home for health conditions or were cohabiting with individuals that were at high risk and opted not to come back to work. But we were really grateful for the support of our community. And it's just been amazing to see the outpouring of of support and love from the community here in Phoenix.
How is this affected you, not just as a business owner, but also as a human being?
It's been very trying. I mean, I don't think if anyone would have told me prior to last year that this would have happened, I wouldn't believe them. So, you know, after being in business for 15-plus years, to be told that you can't operate your business in the normal capacity that you have, then it's really it's shocking and it's devastating. You know, people who work in the restaurant industry are extremely passionate about food. People in our community are extremely passionate about. Arts and entertainment, so it's been really crushing, and I'm really proud of of our establishment and the folks in our community who have persevered and continue to operate their businesses successfully. It hasn't been easy. And for myself and my husband and many business owners, we're more hands on. So, where there's a shortage, where there's a chef that needs to be covered — whether it's in the kitchen or on the floor — we're jumping in to do that to fill the gap. So, the restaurant industry is one of the probably the most difficult there is. It's very labor intensive, but we love it, and we hope to continue to service the community as long as we can.
How do you weigh the practical versus the passion?
Yeah, it's hard. You know, I think that those of us that work in this industry feel a connectivity with our community and with other people. And I think that's what drives people to want to be out in society and go out to eat and enjoy the company of others and view art and experience music. So people, I think, are really craving to get back to that and hopefully with more of the population getting vaccinated and the numbers going down, that we can return to normal soon. And I have to say that in our community, specifically in the Roosevelt neighborhood, many of the small businesses are still including Carly's, still continuing with mandating masks for for guests when they're not seated and still, you know, sticking to the social distancing recommended by the CDC. So, we really want to be able to move forward, but safely. So, those requirements are going to stay until we see community spread ending.