Charleston hospitality industry looking to hire hundreds at job fair

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – If you’re looking for a job in the hospitality industry in Charleston, a job fair on Wednesday at the North Charleston Coliseum may be able to help.

The Lowcountry Hospitality Association and Explore Charleston are teaming up to host the event and dozens of employers will be on site ready to hire.

As pandemic restrictions are lifted, more people are visiting Charleston and spending time out of the house and the hospitality industry is trying to keep up with demand.One restaurant director tells News 2, they’re putting out job postings, but receiving very few applications.

“Unfortunately, as we all know the hospitality segment got hit pretty hard with last spring,” said Jill Maynard, the Executive Director of the Lowcountry Hospitality Association. “Not all of the positions that were vacated last spring have been filled.”

Maynard says hotels are having a hard time booking rooms because they don’t have the staff to get the rooms available. The lack of staff also leads to difficulty in giving guests the experience they are looking for.

40 employers including casual restaurants to top-tier hotels will be at the fair. Every level of work in the hospitality industry will be available including hostesses, servers, bartenders, hotel desk assistants, housekeepers, cooks, up to executive positions.

“Charleston is alive and well, King Street especially,” said Roy Neal, a co-owner at El Jefe Texican Cantina in Downtown Charleston. “We’re seeing great foot traffic and employers are hiring. We’re hiring here at El Jefe for sure.”

Another restaurant looking to fill several positions is Stars Rooftop and Grill Room. Director of Operations, Heather Greene, says the business is looking for employees who will stick around.

“I think our biggest challenge is having people come and apply and work a week and leave. So, we’re looking for a longevity, we’re looking for a good attitude, we’re looking for people that are positive and people that really want to stay with us and move up from within,” said Greene.

Explore Charleston and the Lowcountry Hospitality Association will be giving out incentives at Wednesday’s job fair. Every potential employee that registers will be entered into a live raffle for prizes like gas, grocery, restaurant, and hotel gift cards. The first 100 people to be hired at the fair will receive a $500 bonus.

“$250 will be paid on the employees first paycheck and then if they remain at the 90-day mark of employment, they’ll receive another $250,” said Maynard.

The job fair is open to anyone looking for a hospitality job. It will be Wednesday, April 7th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum. It is free to attend and there will be free parking in Lot B.