from Mecca Rainy at KOCO 5 News Birra Birra is a popular spot in the growing Chisholm Creek area in north Oklahoma City. It was a great place for people to gather, eat and spend a nice night out. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed.”It was difficult,” Birra Birra general manager Justin McCrary said. “Nobody saw it coming, and there’s no playbook, so to speak, as what was the right or wrong thing to do.”But the restaurant managed via to-go orders and discounts. It survived, and clientele quickly returned once the mask mandate was lifted.People opted for indoor and patio seating, and socializing was no longer on pause. “And then, when things started to calm down, the economy started to rebound, our business level picked up,” McCrary said.

But the same couldn’t be said about the job applicants. “It was definitely strange because, especially in the early spring, that’s when people are looking for restaurant jobs because summer is coming and it’s patio season,” McCrary said. “That’s when places are really, really busy, and it was just very strange because nobody was coming in the door.” It was rough for Birra Birra. “Couldn’t get anyone to apply or interview, and it was tough for a while,” McCrary said. So, he, other managers and owners across the board stepped up to fill in the gaps. “We wanted our staff to know we were there for them and supported them,” McCrary said. “So, managers were throwing on aprons and washing dishes or taking tables because we didn’t want guests to be turned away.”