As service industry businesses struggle to hire staff, companies are willing to go to new lengths to find workers.Nearly 211,000 employees were working in food service and drinking establishments throughout the six-county area that includes Richardson in January 2020, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Four months later, following widespread closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that figure dropped to almost 130,000 workers. As of June this year, service industry employee numbers had climbed back to more than 214,000. Still, many local restaurants say it is difficult to find workers. Nick Barclay, owner of Fish & Fizz, said he believes there is a confluence of factors driving the service industry’s extreme worker shortage, including career changes, disillusionment with the job and an apprehension toward working in close quarters. But perhaps the biggest reason, Barclay suspects, is the speed at which restaurants reopened. “It always takes longer to wind something up again than it does to shut it down,” he said. Read more at Community Impact.