New Mandan restaurants fully staffed despite demand for workers

New Mandan restaurants fully staffed despite demand for workers

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Food service workers are in high demand in Mandan, but two restaurants that recently opened say they’ve been able to hire enough staff.

Bennigan’s began recruiting workers several weeks before opening on Aug. 20, including participating in Mandan’s July 4 parade to get the word out about job opportunities.

Manager Tori Harris said the restaurant had such a strong response, managers were able to hire five to 10 more people than they were seeking. The restaurant employs 110.

“A new restaurant is always exciting and people like to go to the new trend in town,” Harris said.

Culver’s, which opened Sept. 10 in Mandan, also was able to find enough workers, said franchise owner Sammi Wu. She also thinks the appeal of a new restaurant helped attract staff.

“Since Culver’s is a brand new store, lots of people wanted to see what’s going on,” Wu said.

The restaurant began recruiting workers in July to be ready for the September opening, she said.

“A few more would be great, but at this point we’re satisfied with all the people we have here,” Wu said. “They are very hard workers.”

Morton and Burleigh counties had 2,265 job openings listed with Job Service North Dakota in August, the most recent data available.

With that number of openings in the community, it's challenging for restaurants to meet their workforce needs, said Brian Ritter, CEO of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association.

“We know it’s increasingly difficult,” Ritter said.

A total of 346 of those job openings were in Morton County, with food preparation and serving the sector with the highest demand, Job Service figures show.

Often restaurants have additional job openings that don’t get listed with Job Service, said Carol Yantzer, who works in the agency’s business services unit.

“Anybody that’s interested in restaurant work should never wait to see an opening,” she said. “The best thing to do is just stop in or go to their websites.”

Darlene Reinarts, who works in human resources for the Mandan Depot Bier Hall, Harvest Catering & Events and Station West Bar & Grill in Mandan, said she thinks demand for workers has been consistent, and not any greater due to new restaurants opening.

“I think everyone's struggling to get that good, dependable employee, part-time or full-time,” Reinarts said. “It is a revolving door with just by nature of the type of work that it entails.”

Amanda Hixson, general manager of Burger King in Mandan, said the addition of Culver’s hasn’t affected her ability to find workers.

“We thought it was going to be more of an effect, but it really hasn’t hurt too much,” Hixson said. “We have applications coming in every day still here actually.”

Nevertheless, the fast food restaurant still has vacancies to fill.

“We’re usually always hiring,” Hixson said.

Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or Amy.Dalrymple@bismarcktribune.com.

“Anybody that’s interested in restaurant work should never wait to see an opening. The best thing to do is just stop in or go to their websites.”

Carol Yantzer, with Job Service North Dakota

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