Contributed by the Opelika Chamber of Commerce

Working in the hospitality industry can be an exciting and fulfilling career filled with numerous opportunities and potential for growth. If you want to meet employers that are ready to hire, then come to the Hospitality Industry Fair on May 25 at the Southern Room, located on Southern Union’s Opelika campus. For convenience, there are two times of the event:  8:30 – 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Auburn-Opelika Tourism, Goodwill Career Center and both Auburn and Opelika Chambers of Commerce, the Hospitality Fair is open to the public. Area hotels and restaurants are accepting applications for full and part-time positions. Opelika Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ali Rauch said, “We understand the challenges our members are having with trying to re-open their businesses without sufficient team members. We hope this event will draw a large crowd of job hunters, especially in light of the additional unemployment cancellation announced by Governor Ivey.”

Since more people are getting vaccinated, businesses are re-opening and people are dining out and vacationing. Hundreds of jobs have returned to restaurants and hotels, but across the country, the same sign keeps popping up: “We are short staffed, please be patient with the staff that did show up.” 

According to the National Restaurant Association, the number of restaurant jobs has gone up every month this year. Staffing, however, is 20% lower than it was a year ago. Problems are occurring nationwide, where owners and operators of restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues are competing for a shortage of workers.

A survey conducted by The National Federation of Independent Business reported that 40% of small businesses had jobs they could not fill. So many businesses made it through the pandemic, but will they survive the re-opening?