JOBS ON OFFER: Venue needs 12 new staff right now
BUSINESS is booming at one of Ipswich's most popular venues as life begins to resemble something close to normal.
The 178-year-old PA Hotel is busy seven days a week and needs more staff on board to cope with the demand, which is only predicted to increase.
It is a huge difference to the dire situation just four months ago as people chose not to venture out during the peak of COVID-19.
General manager Peter Coultas said things have "bounced back" in recent weeks as stage three eased business restrictions were introduced.
The Booval venue contains two restaurants, a gaming area and a beer bar.
"It has been better than I thought," he said.
"We've got one person per square metre rule and social distancing. Food and beverage is doing really well.
"You can clearly see the locals want to come out and everybody wants to go out and reconnect.
"With our square metreage, on paper we can do up to 300 (customers).
"However, we are still allowing a lot of social distancing and space between tables. An average night for us is about 250 people. Seven days a week we're close to the 200 mark.
"On Friday and Saturday night we're at 100 per cent capacity."
Thanks to that surge in returning customers, the PA is needing to bolster its staff.
Mr Coultas said the business is looking to hire six people in a variety of roles straight away and about another six in the next couple of weeks.
The requirement of taking customer's details for tracing purposes was soaking up staff's time and more drivers are also needed to deliver meals.
"Like everybody else we had to stand down about 62 staff when (COVID-19) first happened," he said.
"We're back to everybody that was able to come back (about 55 people).
"We're also hired probably half a dozen people and we're still looking.
"The jobs are working in gaming, front of house, waiting and bar tenders. We're desperate for chefs. Any position that is in hospitality, we're looking.
"Our home deliveries are still maintaining a growth.
"I could take six straight away. Business is that strong. Once they've settled … I'll probably be looking at another six people.
"Over the course of the next three to four weeks, I'd comfortably say we've got work up for up 12 people."
Student Chloe Leese, 20, started work at the PA this week, to earn while money while doing her primary education studies.
She struggled to find work during the pandemic after finishing up at Costco and was glad to be out working again after getting by on JobSeeker.
"I really enjoy it, it's better than sitting at home," she said.
Mr Coultas said JobSeeker payments had made it difficult to hire new workers once things got busy again.
"To recruit new people, it seems it is very, very hard to find people that are willing to work," he said.
"Hospitality is screaming out (for workers)."
He said people have been very understanding about following and respecting new procedures.
Mr Coultas said customers had adjusted to staggered dining, which allowed the business to get more people through the doors.
"We're not allowed to have cutlery lying around," he said.
"The whole process of dining has actually changed.
"Our kitchen will stay as open as late as we need it to.
"In general the support for the whole industry, not just ourselves but Ipswich as a whole, from the locals has been fantastic."