LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As part of The Rebound Kentucky, LEX 18 has been highlighting the ways the pandemic has affected businesses over the past year. But with the positivity rate dropping and the number of vaccinations rising, 'We're hiring' signs are popping up, especially within the hospitality industry.
If you live in or have visited Lexington or the surrounding area, you've probably have eaten at one of Ouita Michel's restaurants.
"I personally feel like my businesses and the other restaurateurs of Lexington and Fayette County and the surrounding counties, we're the handshake of our community."
Ouita Michel owns restaurants like Zim's Cafe, Honeywood, Wallace Station and Windy Corner. The restaurateur says her entire staff is almost fully vaccinated and she's feeling very hopeful for the future. Something that's been a long time coming.
"A year ago, it was so scary. I was probably in the most scared place I've ever been in my professional career. And I honestly didn't know if any of our restaurants would make it through."
Michel says business has been steadily increasing every week. So now, she's hosting a job fair.
"From your entry level position, like if you're a high school student and you want to run food at Wallace Station or Windy Corner, we need you. If you are a young person, a great way to start off in the business is to wash dishes," Michel explained.
Michel says across all her restaurants, they will be hiring about 20-25 staff members.
"I'm so worried that our industry's been dealt such a devastating blow and that young people won't want to have a career in food service and that we are going to lose young chefs. So, to be able to create these jobs makes me super happy. I want to be the best employer I can be."
Michel credits the community for their doors still being open.
"We want them sitting at our bars, we want to pour them a good bourbon, we want to say 'Welcome to Lexington, welcome to Midway, welcome to Versailles, welcome to Georgetown, welcome back home, welcome back into Kentucky."
The job fair will be held Sunday, March 28 from 2-4 p.m. and Tuesday, March 30 from 6-8 p.m. at Zim's Cafe. The following restaurants will be included in the job fair: Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Zim's Cafe, Windy Corner Market, Honeywood, Smithtown Seafood, The Midway Bakery & Cafe, Thirsty Fox.
Other Lexington-area restaurants that are hiring:
- The Cellar
- Crank and Boom
- Favor Kitchen
- Bella Cafe
- Kentucky Native
- Azur Food Group
- Drake's - Hamburg