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East Tenn employers struggling to fill hundreds of jobs, offering incentives to new hires

Dead End BBQ, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery in Alcoa and The Shrimp Dock are just a few restaurants announcing closures due to a staff shortage.
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:18 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - During the pandemic, some East Tennessee businesses were forced to lay off employees and close their doors. Now, signs show some are closing, again.

Dead End BBQ, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery in Alcoa and The Shrimp Dock are just a few restaurants announcing they are closing on Mondays due to a staff shortage.

Dead End BBQ Owner George Ewart, said his employees have worked double shifts and six-day work weeks to keep up with the demand of customers coming back.

“It’s hard. I mean, I’ve been working in the smoke room; doing catering jobs. Whatever we need to do,” said Ewart. “When you see that look in people’s eyes where they’re just glazed and they’re tired— you got to do something about it.”

Wednesday was Blackhorse Pub & Brewery’s first day open in two and a half weeks. A manager told WVLT News the restaurant had to send staff to work at its new Alcoa location because it is down 30 employees.

Job positions are available across the region. Kroger hopes to fill hundreds of positions across the state, the Department of Correction and plants are offering thousands of dollars worth of sign-on bonuses.

Dead End BBQ is getting creative to keep its employees.

“Our back of the house (is) on a profit sharing program, so they make beyond a living wage working here,” Ewart said.

To find a full list of job openings, career fairs and events, click here.

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