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'We don't know what happens tomorrow.' Waffle Taco optimistic as restaurant opens during pandemic

Posted at 7:00 PM, Dec 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 06:18:55-05

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WTVF) — Restaurants are hiring again, but at a slower pace than the initial rebound coming out of the spring lockdowns.

Waffle Taco opened roughly two weeks ago at 1114 Bell Road in Antioch. The restaurant owner is filling out the wait and kitchen staff.

"I told everybody that the time [we're in] is hard," said Jose Aguilar. "And they need to be saving money because we don't know what happens tomorrow."

In April, Aguilar planned to open the American-Hispanic fusion restaurant, which serves waffles, omelets, tacos and coffee drinks. He's been pushing the opening date most of this year, to see how the pandemic was effecting new businesses, but couldn't wait any longer.

"We needed to open because we can still close," Aguilar said.

According to the National Restaurant Association, there are 2.1 million fewer jobs available in the restaurant industry than there were before the pandemic.

Aguilar said he knows the pandemic has been hard on his staff. Some new hires were let go from other restaurants earlier this year. Aguilar would like to give all full-time employees a 40-hour work week.

Eventually, the owner wants the restaurant to be open 24 hours a day. For now, every day they're open is a good thing.

"The owners like me, we're not thinking about making money, we're thinking surviving... I know we are doing alright because people come over and send other people," he said.

The restaurant is looking for workers who speak both English and Spanish.