“We overcame hurdle after hurdle”

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The restaurant business can be unpredictable, but the past few years have brought additional challenges: a pandemic, a supply chain crisis and staffing shortages are adding to the stress.

“It’s the craziest things you’d never believe were too short, like vanilla waffles. We can’t get vanilla waffles from any of our suppliers, which we usually do,” said Tired Texan BBQ owner Christine Holland.

“You’re literally out of peaches, peaches. You have to decide whether to keep the stuff on your menu when you’re out, or just go without when the customers come in and they’ll be like, ‘You were out last,’” said Jackie Robbins, owner of the Rib Shack Smoke House.

Holland and Robbins say finding staff is exhausting. Robbins must go to extremes to get help.

“I still don’t have full staff. I asked volunteers to help me, seniors who are retired. They just come to donate their time and that’s how we survived,” Robbins said.

“I’m exhausted every day, my legs are burning when I get home. Because of the staff shortage, I have to do more of the serving and everything else,” Holland said.

Robbins and Holland have also experienced personal and professional tragedies. The tired Texas BBQ experienced a fire in June that caused it to close for four months. Robbins lost her son, which resulted in her closing Rib Shack for nearly a month.

“One challenge after another, you know. We’ve fought hurdle after hurdle, but it’s like there are too many hurdles. You can’t make it that far,” Holland said.

Copps Pizza owner Kris Copp has also faced similar challenges as other businesses, but is building a new location at 108th and Center Streets. He attributes growth to adaptation.

“When the pandemic first hit we had a store and started shipping to Waterloo and Council Bluffs, which is probably not really normal. But what is our chance – to do something more?” said Copp.

Difficult times bring many emotions to a profession tailored to make others happy.

“Anytime I see a customer that I know, I’m going to miss seeing all of those people that I know,” Holland said.

Tired Texan BBQ closes on Mother’s Day. To help the Rib Shack click here.

Download our apps today for our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather straight to your inbox.