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CARMEL, Ind. — Conventions and concerts may be drawing Hoosiers to the hospitality industry on weekends, but restaurants and hotels continue to struggle to provide service.

“98% of hotels in Indiana report they can’t fill jobs, or have increased wages with benefits, paid time-off, health care, 401K reimbursements, even some higher education reimbursements,” details Patrick Tamm, President and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Hiring issues plague the industry. Tamm says restaurants are reporting big sales numbers despite a reduced staff. The same goes for hotels on weekends, however, industry reports predict weekday business travel won’t return to normal until 2024.

“We had great success with the Sweets and Snacks Show, but then we go down to 5% or 8% occupancy,” details Tamm.

Some hotels are holding off flipping dirty rooms until the workweek begins. Industry leaders say now is the time to get into restaurants and hotels due to easy upward mobility. Rob Chinksy now owns 18 Penn Station locations but started out washing dishes in restaurants at age 15. He says there is room for growth across the board if people are willing to jump into the industry now.

“I’ve had people work their way up to being into management, to being a general manager, to being operations manager,” lists Chinsky, “We’ve had several people go off and be franchisees.”

Chinsky says the hiring issue is not only entry-level jobs but that restaurants and hotels are looking for managerial positions or crew leaders.