“Help wanted.” We’ve all seen the signs. Our small businesses are desperate to fill their ranks. A restaurateur friend told me that his sales are up 25 percent but staffing is down 45 percent.

Can you imagine having 25 percent more business with half of your staff?

I also learned of a local doughnut shop that had to close at 9 a.m. for five days in a row because they ran out of doughnuts — there were no bakers available to produce enough fresh product to sell. This husband/wife team was up at 3 a.m. to prepare the doughnuts together but couldn’t generate enough revenue to justify opening their doors each morning. But, they did because they promised their loyal customers that they would be open every day.

While this is a common chorus I’m hearing from friends in the hospitality and service industries, this issue is affecting all segments of our local economies.

In the midst of these challenges, I did have a revelation. This past weekend, we visited a venue where the service was woefully poor. As the young lady, who delivered my incorrect order for the second time, asked for me to point out what I ordered on the menu (I asked for a glass of house Champagne and it was listed as “brut” on the list), I realized several things:

1. I’ve heard innumerable complaints about slow service, lack of staff, etc. Everyone is trying their best. Be patient. Understand that all our small businesses are trying their best to get their feet underneath them to become profitable again and stay in business. The challenges aren’t over.

2. Appreciate the people who are actually working. Be respectful and grateful for those who are showing up to work. And tell them how much you appreciate them and their efforts.

3. Be a good “partner” with your service providers. This young lady was nervous. She was new. And she had probably been given limited information to work the event. She simply didn’t know. So, we pulled out the menu and we talked through it together. Be kind. Be patient. And do your part to help these eager, dedicated people be successful.

So, the next time you complain about a long line or a wrong order, take a moment to catch your breath and realize we’re all in “recovery mode” after the past year. Support our small businesses and those who are working to pave the way.

All of us were once “new” at something — remember what it felt like to have someone lend you a helping hand. Simply reach out, offer a sincere smile and show some kindness.

Kelley Sullivan Georgiades is a fifth generation Galvestonian and co-owns Santa Rosa Ranch with her parents, Gerald and Susanne.


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(6) comments

Dlorah Berry

Well said! Thank you!

George Laiacona

The pandemic is still here. Granted some people have been protected, but there are still those doubters, and working age youth that are not vaccinated. Intelligent Americans will protect themselves by trying to stay away from the possibility of catching the virus. Until they are convinced it is safe to work where anyone can be a customer they will stay away and be safe. After all who would like to work for less than minimum wage and not know if they were in a safe working environment or not?

Stephen Rennick

George, while I respect your opinion I can't help but point out there are no food service industry workers in Galveston making less than minimum wage. Servers wages plus tips easily exceed minimum wage, the industry avg is $15-$25/hr. Your statement is a common misconception about servers wages.

Ted Gillis

Stephen, your comment about server’s wages being a common misconception may be correct, however George is not the only one who believes it.

Several people in the work force are not willing to go back to this type of employment, even at higher wages. A lot of them have gone on to other types of employment, where close contact with others is not required. We may be stuck in this server shortage situation for some time, even if the governor cancels unemployment benefits.

Kelley is right. We just need to be patient.

George Laiacona

You comment concerning wages is limited to only a few residents on our island. Granted when you include tips, some servers are doing OK but what about the rest?

Carlos Ponce

Then go around, George Laiacona and fill their tip jars.

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