1,800 applications, 190 jobs at Duluth restaurant

More than nine people have applied for every available job at a new Duluth restaurant.

Since Texas Roadhouse began hiring about a month ago, about 1,800 applications have been submitted as of Tuesday morning for its estimated 190 open positions.

“We’ve definitely seen an upswing in the number of applicants we’ve had across the country, but it’s a great thing for us to be able to come to town and bring 200 jobs to Duluth,” said Mark Prosen, a managing partner and part-owner of the restaurant at 902 Mall Drive.

Prosen said applicants have been both longtime restaurant workers and those searching for a temporary job to weather the depressed employment situation.

“We are still seeing the normal restaurant workers that would be coming through the door, but we are also seeing others that are displaced through another job,” Prosen said. “This could be something else just to tie them over.”

To show that Duluth isn’t alone, Prosen said he witnessed similar employment interest during Texas Roadhouse openings earlier this year in Lehi, Utah and Sheboygan, Wis.

“We had lots of applications at both, but we are seeing definitely more applications being brought in at both than in previous years,” Prosen said.

Texas Roadhouse has filled about 25 percent of the positions and will hire the remaining spots before its Jan. 16 orientation.

The restaurant, which will open Jan. 25, will employ about 75 servers, 70 kitchen staff, 25 hosts, 10 bartenders and 15 cleaning staff as well as management.

“Everything is up and open,” Prosen said of hiring, “with all the applications we are bringing in.”