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Maxie's Pizza Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes, general manager of Maxie’s Pizza and Pasta in Twin Falls, finishes the baking of a vegetarian gluten-free pizza in January 2010.

Restaurant manager Mike Hayes is competing for workers against much bigger businesses. And for a couple of years, that competition has been stronger than ever.

When Chobani opened its Twin Falls factory in 2012, the Maxie’s Pizza and Pasta general manager lost three of his employees. And since Clif Bar opened last year, Hayes has seen fewer skilled applicants apply for jobs.

“We occasionally get short-staffed,” he said. “And we hire, and unfortunately the skill level is lacking.”

Today’s new employees often aren’t able to multitask as efficiently as past generations.

And larger businesses with human resource departments have a recruitment advantage, Hayes said. “They grab up the skilled workers in a hurry.”

While some employees at Maxie’s have worked there 10 to 15 years, the typical new hire lasts only six to seven months at best. Hayes believes they get disgusted with what’s required of them — multitasking in food preparation, restaurant maintenance and dishes. They leave to take what they perceive as higher-paying jobs that require less work.

To try to get new employees up to the task, Hayes is taking a more active role in training — instead of leaving it to the old hands. Training that once took a few days now lasts a couple of weeks.

Hayes has thought about outsourcing his delivery service. Or even using automation — but he doesn’t think that will happen.

“We’re just not there yet in this valley to embrace that.”


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