GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A local spirits representative, Renee Kimbrell, says she's noticed the same problem at all the bars she works with: staffing.
“If someone can be a bartender one place, they can probably fill in at another," Kimbrell said. "It’s important being in the industry, that we help each other out in times of COVID. It hasn’t been easy for any of us."
The representative has an extensive personal and professional network of people in the bar industry.
“There are establishments that I work with that might be closed on a Sunday or Monday due to lack of kitchen staff," Kimbrell said. "So they can’t open, but that same person might be able to work at another bar that’s open Sunday Monday."
Through a simple Facebook group, Renee is hoping to help ease the burden of lack of staffing plaguing the restaurant industry.
The idea means a lot to Eastside Billiards owner Rich Williams, who says he can barely staff his place on busy days.
“I have three very solid loyal employees that have been here for a long time. But they need a break. They’ve been busting their hump working a lot of hours,” Williams said.
Williams is a member of the group and is hopeful it helps him, and other local bar owners.
“If it helps anybody I’m happy," Williams said. "I thought about this to help my staff because I wasn’t getting any responses from ads. If there are other bars out there, and my bartender has Tuesday off and wants to go help someone, I’m fine with that. As long as people can get through this."