Wisconsin Restaurants Expected to Hire 17,200 This Summer

It's almost always a struggle for those looking for summer jobs as high school and college students flood back home and try to make some money before getting back to the books. One industry, however, is looking up for the unemployed - the restaurant industry.

The National Restaurant Association recently released their hiring expectations for this summer for each state. In Wisconsin, they believe restaurants will hire 17,200 workers this season. For some restaurants in Wausau, that's the case, but others said they're pretty well staffed.

"I've tried a bunch of places actually and none of them really called me back," said Paula Garcia-Rogers, 17.

Garcia-Rogers is a student at Northcentral Technical College Alternative High School in Wausau. For a summer job, she wanted to get into the food service industry. After applying to several places, she got hired at Panera Bread in Wausau, but she said getting that job was no easy task.

"I think it's going to be pretty hard considering everyone is looking," she said.

The forecast tells otherwise, however. Her new General Manager, Steve Negrete, said they're looking to hire about ten people, but are doing it really to plan ahead for the future.

"We're pretty well staffed for where we're supposed to be for our sales," he said, "but we always look to plan ahead for the fall as well, you know we have the kids going back to school and the college students as well."

Between the Jimmy Johns in Wausau and the new location in Weston, the owner said they want to hire about 20 people.

"We're a little short staffed as it is and with the increase in business for summer," said Brian Macak, "we'll be looking to hire more people in addition to the people that we normally need."

Restaurants like The Mint Cafe and The Great Dane that aren't apart of national chains, however, they said they have more long-term staff with little turnover.

"Coming out of the winter, we kind of felt that we were over-staffed. We didn't feel like we had to do too much hiring this summer," said Patrick Ambriz, The Great Dane Floor Manager.

If you do hear the phrase, "you're hired," restaurant managers hope you have an attitude like Paula's who's eagerly awaiting the start of her new position.

Employers said they're generally looking for people who are personable, hard-working, and flexible with scheduling. Also, when applying, as a reminder, not all applications are on paper. Those that are chains are often online.

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