GALVESTON, Texas - Many restaurants and hotels are still struggling to hire enough staff to meet customer demand for the holidays and facing higher food and supply costs.
In many hotels and restaurants this holiday season, travelers can expect smaller staffs, some different foods on your plate, and higher prices.
At The Spot in Galveston, it's taken a full year to get up to full staff.
"Prior to COVID, we had already begun phasing in $12 to $15 wages and COVID just accelerated that," said The Spot owner Dennis Byrd.
But many restaurants are not so lucky.
"We are still seeing restaurants close and a lot of the reasons are they cannot get back to capacity," said Emily Knight with the Texas Restaurant Association.
The Texas Restaurant Association says funding for the federal Restaurant Revitalization grants from the American Rescue Plan ran out fast.
"We had 12,000 restaurants that applied for a grant and were left in the dark," said Knight.
Restaurants are also dealing with supply chain snarls.
"In October, we ordered 10 new umbrellas and received notification last week those umbrellas will ship in July of 2022," said Byrd.
It's forcing restaurants to pay much higher prices and make food substitutions.
"My oil broker says he’s arriving in January with a new oil for us to test because he’s certain by the end of quarter one, our oil will not be available," explained Byrd.
Hotels say they face the same shortages.
"One day it’s towels, one day it’s toilet paper, a lot of days it’s food," said Willis Gandhi with the Galveston Hotel & Lodging Association and owner of four Galveston area hotels.
He says guests have been booking last minute.
"If you check your books Wednesday, it shows you’re only 50% occupied. Then come Friday morning, you're 100% occupied and you’re scrambling to get staffing because you didn’t plan for that," said Gandhi.
The hospitality industry is asking holiday travelers to pack their patience.
"I think if they’re trying to take care of customers the best they can, we all have to kind of accept what’s happening right now," said customer Stephanie Beck.
The Restaurant Association encourages shoppers to buy gift cards for local restaurants as gifts, saying it can help keep some in business, and you won't have to worry about shipping delays.