Mount Washington’s award-winning barbecue owner talks about being a ghost at work




Mid-May means barbecue season is ramping up. Weddings, graduation parties and barbecues quickly fill social calendars and, therefore, orders for classic barbecue dishes. But, if you’re looking to stop by Sweets & Meats BBQ in Mount Washington for a pulled pork sandwich during a weekend lunch, you’ll have to wait a bit. Founder Kristen Bailey announced on Sunday that the take-out restaurant Part of the family business will continue to be closed until the end of May, citing a staff shortage. Bailey told WLWT the temporary closures come just as the restaurant has gained much-needed attraction and customers. “Which is frustrating, you know,” Bailey said of the weeks of revenue missing from the shutdowns. “But I can’t. I don’t have staff and if I can’t do my best if I’m going to compromise quality, if I’m going to compromise the quality of life of my employees if you know ‘It doesn’t It’s not just about finding interested and qualified candidates, but about keeping employees on the payroll once they’re hired, she said. Over the past two and a half years, she has managed to retain two of 15 new hires after 30 days of employment. She said she dealt with people who either didn’t come to work when hired or left without warning or response. This practice may be known as “ghosting”. “When someone chooses to take a position here, you know they’re giving us their word that they’re going to show up,” Bailey said. “We need reliable people. And that makes it even more difficult.” Without the take-out restaurant, Sweets and Meats has to rely on its booming restaurant business thanks to its two food trucks. Before the pandemic, catering accounted for 20% of sales. Now Bailey says it’s up to 70%. Yet, struggling with understaffing, the current team is working long overtime hours in order to fulfill contract orders and events, including Taste of Cincinnati. Mount Washington’s small business is not alone. According to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the city’s unemployment rate is 3.4%, which is lower than the national average of 3.6%. The chamber said this gives potential job applicants and employees more leverage over employers in today’s markets. In the local Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky region, the chamber said there were twice as many job openings as there were people actively seeking positions. , the Indiana and Kentucky region saw a 20% increase in January over pre-pandemic numbers. Similarly, Sweets & Meats BBQ told WLWT that it has also hired a third-party human resources professional to help Bailey and her staff better understand and cultivate a better work environment for future current employees.

Mid-May means barbecue season is ramping up.

Weddings, graduation parties and barbecues quickly fill social calendars and, therefore, orders for classic barbecue dishes. But, if you’re looking to stop by Sweets & Meats BBQ in Mount Washington for a pulled pork sandwich during a weekend lunch, you’ll have to wait a bit.

Founder Kristen Bailey announced on Sunday that the take-out restaurant part of the family business will continue to be closed until the end of May, citing a staff shortage. Bailey told WLWT the temporary closures come just as the restaurant has gained much-needed attraction and customers.

“Which is frustrating, you know,” Bailey said of the weeks of revenue missing from the shutdowns. “But I can’t. I don’t have staff and if I can’t do my best if I’m going to compromise quality, if I’m going to compromise the quality of life of my employees if you know we’re going to mess up orders It just doesn’t make sense to be open.

It’s not just about finding interested and qualified candidates, but about keeping employees on the payroll once they’re hired, she said.

Bailey said that over the past two and a half years she has been able to retain two of 15 new hires after 30 days of employment. She said she dealt with people who either didn’t come to work when hired or left without warning or response. This practice may be known as “ghosting”.

“When someone chooses to take up a position here, you know they’re giving us their word that they’re going to show up,” Bailey said. “We need reliable people. And that makes it even more difficult.”

Without the take-out restaurant, Sweets and Meats has to rely on its booming restaurant business thanks to its two food trucks. Before the pandemic, catering accounted for 20% of sales. Now Bailey says it’s up to 70%. Yet, struggling with understaffing, the current team is working long overtime hours in order to fulfill contract orders and events, including Taste of Cincinnati.

Mount Washington’s small business isn’t alone. According to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the city’s unemployment rate is 3.4%, which is lower than the national average of 3.6%. The chamber said this gives potential job applicants and employees more leverage over employers in today’s markets. In the Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky region, the chamber said there were twice as many job openings as there were people actively seeking positions.

Regarding the so-called “dropout rate,” the Cincinnati USA regional chamber said the Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky region saw a 20% increase in January compared to pre-pandemic figures.

To help companies understand why applicants and employees may ghost them, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber offers assistance through its Workplace Innovation Center.

Similarly, Sweets & Meats BBQ told WLWT that it has also hired a third-party human resources professional to help Bailey and her staff better understand and cultivate a better work environment for future current employees.

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