GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Gatlinburg is in full swing for the summer season, and employers are struggling to keep up with the extra business with employees. Businesses are trying to find different ways to get their teams staffed up to handle the season, such as Anakeesta offering a larger sign-on bonus of $1,000.

Ole Red Gatlinburg holds job fair

On Tuesday, Ole Red Gatlinburg tried something different for the service industry: a job fair at the restaurant during peak eating hours.

“When you say ‘job fair,’ that’s just something different to, you know, people who are looking for jobs. It sticks out. They’re like, ‘oh I can just swing by. I don’t want to do the online process. I just want to go there and talk with someone right now,'” Chrisy Lambert, Ole Red’s Marketing Manager, said.

Lambert said that’s exactly what happened. As people came in to apply, they would immediately talk with management afterward, with the possibility of getting hired on the spot. She said they were highlighting the benefits the company offered.

As soon as applicants walked into the job fair area, they would see a table full of flyers with the insurance benefits, what the culture of Ole Red’s and the parent company (Ryman) is about and the type of positions they were hiring. They even had computers available for people to fill out their applications. Lambert said even through tough times, the company was worth working for.

“When everyone was shut down, they were still paying us. Who else can say that? It’s just, the support system is incredible. Just the culture, the teamwork that we have to offer is unlike anywhere else,” Lambert said.

Plus, one of their bosses is the famous Blake Shelton. That was a perk one applicant was excited about. Jamie Barrett and his family drove all the way from Newport to apply at Ole Red.

“It seemed like the perfect idea. Come up here and get a job. There’s not very many jobs around Newport,” Barrett said.

Barrett said he’d been looking for a job for about a month. His wife and one of his daughters also applied at Ole Red. He said they just needed something, and they at least have some service industry experience.

“Host, buss, it doesn’t matter to me. As of right now, you know, a job’s a job,” Barrett said.

Barrett said now that the unemployment benefits are finished and business is back to normal, it’s time people go out and get hired.

“The ban is over. So it’s time for us to get back out here and go back to work,” Barrett said.

Lambert said the company takes health very seriously. She said Ryman Hospitality works with Vanderbilt to make sure guests and employees stay safe. They still have hand sanitizer placed in several locations throughout the restaurant. Anyone can apply in-house or online any day of the week.

Anakeesta raises sign-on bonus to $1,000

Anakeesta is still looking for more employees as well. The attraction originally offered $400 as a sign-on bonus but decided to increase that to $1,000 starting Tuesday. Anakeesta leaders said they increased the hiring bonus because they want future employees to feel welcomed, and to be leaders in the community when it comes to hiring.

“We are also offering the same bonus to our current employees as a sign of our appreciation for their hard work and dedication. Our hiring motto has always been: Start with us, stay with us and grow with us. We want our staff to consider Anakeesta as a successful career opportunity, not just a job,” Maggie Gregg, the Social Media Manager, said.

Anakeesta is also looking to fill several different positions, including zip line guide, park rangers, retail, food and beverage, ticketing and maintenance and facilities positions. Gregg said they are hoping that similar to the announcement of a $400 hiring bonus, they’ll see a strong uptick of applicants with this $1,000 bonus, with the starting pay of up to $19 for some positions.

Gregg said Anakeesta also has benefits worth applying for, such as paid time off, medical, dental and vision insurance for full-time positions. Uniforms and parking garage passes will be supplied to all new employees. You can apply to Anakeesta by clicking this link: Anakeesta Careers.

Find more jobs through WATE’s Who’s hiring page.