Woodstock restaurant to take 2-week hiatus as it struggles to find new employees

BBQ King Smokehouse says no one showing up to job interviews

A Woodstock business announced Friday that it will be closed for the next two weeks, citing “lazy people” and no-shows for job interviews.

As of Friday, BBQ King Smokehouse in Woodstock didn’t have the staff to remain open in the immediate future, according to a since-deleted post the owners shared on Facebook. The business’ Huntley location will remain open.

“When the government decides to stop giving out free money, we’ll open back up because we will be fully staffed,” the owners wrote. “See you in Huntley. Szmurlo family.”

According to the post, BBQ King’s Woodstock location hasn’t had luck in its attempts to bring on new employees.

“BBQ King Smokehouse will be closed for the next two weeks due to the fact we have been trying to hire for over six months and no one shows up for interviews,” the owners wrote. “On top of that, the people we had feel they can do nothing and still keep their job. I refuse to give my customers subpar service and a subpar experience because of lazy people.”

The owners could not be reached for comment Friday.

BBQ King isn’t alone in its frustrations. Local small businesses have reported difficulty hiring new employees even as COVID-19 restrictions loosen, allowing for more in-person dining and social gatherings.

Although the majority of American workers now are comfortable with in-person work, hospitality jobs are particularly unpopular, according to a recent poll conducted by the job search engine company Joblist.

The company surveyed 30,219 Joblist users in the U.S. from April to June.

Results showed that 38% of former hospitality workers “are not even considering a hospitality job for their next position.” More than 50% of former hospitality workers were looking for other work and reported that “no pay increase or incentive would make them return to their old restaurant, bar or hotel job.”

According to the poll, 58% of those job seekers would prefer to work in a different setting, while 37% said pay was too low and another 20% cited a lack of benefits. A smaller portion of respondents attributed a lack of schedule flexibility, wanting to work from home and risks surrounding COVID-19 to their disinterest in working a hospitality job.

Online job listings showed that BBQ King was urgently hiring an assistant restaurant manager for $25,000 to $35,000 annually, a line or prep cook for $13 to 18 hourly, and a dishwasher for $9.25 to $11 hourly.

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.