You’d have to be living underneath a rock inside a very, very remote cave to have missed the memo that Super Bowl LI is rapidly throttling toward Houston. In anticipation of the more than 140,000 fans that are expected to descend on the city, restaurants across Houston are battening down the hatches.
But, as a recent report by the Houston Chronicle suggests, preparing for the big game has brought staffing challenges for the city’s restaurants. “There's just not enough labor to go around - certainly qualified labor in the higher-end, more full-service restaurants,” Greater Houston Restaurant Association president Jonathan Horowitz told the Chron. “And there's no sign of it letting up."
Unlike other major industries across the city that have struggled with sluggish job growth, restaurants in Houston have plenty of jobs to offer, but there just aren’t enough qualified waiters and cooks to keep up with the restaurants opening at breakneck pace across Houston. In the run-up to the Super Bowl, dozens of restaurants have already (like Chef Ryan LaChaine’s Riel) or will (like Chris Shepherd’s One Fifth) open their doors before kickoff.
A cursory glimpse through Craigslist’s restaurant job postings indicate that many of the city’s hotspots and mainstays, like Le Colonial and Weights + Measures, are actively seeking new staff. Considering that Super Bowl LI is expected to bring in more than $500 million in revenue to Houston businesses, it’s clear that restaurants (and people who work in them) expect to bring home a huge chunk of that change.