Maine Hospitality Industry Holds Annual Trade Show

Maine Hospitality Chairman: Maine has still lost 7,800 jobs since the pandemic began.

PORTLAND, Maine — Alyssa Maziarz is passionate about her work.

She is a supervisor at a hotel in Portland and said she loves making people happy in her job.

She decided to have some fun herself at the Maine Lodging and Restaurant Expo on Wednesday.

Although 81 booths were rented from local vendors, the real draw was the Hospitality Hustle, in a corner of the Cross Insurance Arena. Competitors raced to make beds, and some dared to do an obstacle course while carrying a tray of glasses filled with water.

Maziarz was pleased with her performance in the competition. As a student in the Hospitality Management Program at Southern Maine Community College, she is glad she chose a career in an industry that desperately needs workers.

“Given the pandemic, there’s so much potential, not just for me but for anyone looking for a job in this industry,” she said.

Hospitality Maine President Matt Lewis said many of his businesses were still operating with a shell of their old workforce.

“According to the National Restaurant Association, we are 7,800 behind in hospitality jobs compared to where we were before the pandemic,” he said.

Some of those positions will never come back, he added, because some managers have adapted quite well to fewer employees.

Summer tourism should provide a welcome boost to the industry. The extra revenue may be more needed than Lewis thought even a month ago, as Congress announced in early March that it would cut another tranche of funds from the “Restaurant Revitalization Fund” from its latest bill. expenses.

“Despite the talk of Maine activity this summer, there are still businesses next to us that are really fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat,” Lewis said.

Despite the industry’s continued challenges, warmer weather and out-of-state wallets are on the horizon.

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