‘We fought one barrier after another’

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The restaurant business can be unpredictable, but the past few years have brought many challenges: pandemics, supply chain crises and staff shortages are increasing stress.

“Those are the craziest things you’d never believe would be short, like vanilla sponge cakes. We couldn’t buy vanilla sponge cakes from either supplier that we normally do,” said Christine Holland, Tired Texan BBQ owner said.

“It’s like they’re literally running out of peaches, peaches. You have to decide if you’re going to keep those on your menu when you’re out or you’re not going to be around when the customers come in and they. : ‘You were out last time,’ says Rib Shack Smoke House owner Jackie Robbins.

Holland and Robbins say the search for employees is exhausting. Robbins had to resort to extreme measures to seek help.

“I’m still not fully staffed. I’ve got volunteers coming in to help me, retired seniors. They’ll just take their time and that’s how we survive,” Robbins said.

“I’m exhausted every day, my legs burn when I get home. Because the payroll is short, I have to do more work and everything else,” Holland said.

Robbins and Holland have also faced personal and professional tragedies. Tired Texan BBQ experienced a fire in June that shut them down for four months. Robbins lost her son causing her to close Rib Shack for almost a month.

“You know, one challenge after another. We fought one barrier after another, but it was like there were too many barriers. You just couldn’t get over it,'” Holland said.

Copps Pizza owner Kris Copp has faced similar challenges as other businesses but is setting up a new location on 108th and Central Streets. He thinks maturity is to adapt.

“When the pandemic first hit, we had a store and we started shipping for Waterloo and Council Bluffs, which is probably not something really out of the ordinary. But see this as their opportunity. I – for what more?” Copp said.

Tough times bring a lot of emotion to a profession designed specifically to make others happy.

“Every time I meet a client I know – I miss meeting all of these people I know,” says Holland.

Tired Texan BBQ will be closed on Mother’s Day. To help Rib Shack, click here.

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