John Goodhouse says he's struggled to find workers to hire at Main Street's Beach Hut Deli during the pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - John Goodhouse, right, and his family, from left, Meeka, Austin and Goodhouses wife, Rebecca, operate Beach Hut Deli in downtown Tigard.Tigard City Council member John Goodhouse said the ins and outs of taking over a business during COVID-19 have proved to be an eye-opening experience.

So, too, has been finding the workers needed to staff his Main Street Tigard restaurant.

Last summer, Goodhouse purchased the Beach Hut Deli franchise from former owner Chris Haedinger.

Goodhouse said both his son Austin and daughter Meeka were working there when Haedinger asked if he wanted to buy the deli, something that "took a while to get everything in order with financing and the pandemic … to complete the purchase."

Despite the current restaurant market during the pandemic, John Goodhouse, who has announced plans he will run for Tigard's mayor in 2022, said what sold him on Beach Hut was both the restaurant's atmosphere as well as its beach theme. He also liked the fact the business supports community events and organizations.

"I saw really the potential. Since I've taken over, the sales have grown," Goodhouse said.

Both his son and daughter now co-manage the restaurant.

While Beach Hut Deli did a quiet "soft opening" under new ownership last summer, Goodhouse plans to celebrate the opening with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Tigard Chamber of Commerce sometime in January.

The Beach Hut Deli franchise has been around since 1981, having started in Granite Bay, California. It now has 40 locations in California, Nevada and Oregon. The Tigard location opened in July 2017.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - John Goodhouse, standing at the back patio of Beach Hut Deli, became the new owner of Beach Hut Deli in downtown Tigard last summer.

"There's nothing really like it around," Goodhouse said, noting that featured sandwiches, salads, lettuce wraps, soups and more all come served on a Frisbee.

While he believes some franchises can be stale or sterile, he said he's found that isn't true at Beach Hut.

"If someone's going to consider buying one or opening one, they really put them through a process to make sure that they're a good fit, that they're going to have that same vibe … and they're about giving back to the community. I've done a lot of fundraisers already after taking over and buying it," said Goodhouse, whose day job is that of an independent insurance broker.

Owning a relatively new business, Goodhouse said the most difficult challenge has been in finding restaurant workers, a problem afflicting businesses nationwide. PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Surfboard tables are part of the theme at Beach Hut Deli in downtown Tigard.

"It's been so hard to hire anyone or even interview," he said. "What surprises me when I put an ad out there, people call (and) it seems like a lot of times when I call people they're surprised that I'm even calling."

When he tries to do a follow up call or set up an interview, some never show up, Goodhouse said.

"It just seems to be such a weird environment to even find anyone and the pay is pretty good with tips," Goodhouse said. "They can make a pretty good wage."

In addition to the menu fare, there are 10 televisions in the restaurant along with 16 beers and ciders on tap, giving it sort of a "sports bar" vibe.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sandwiches, such as The Surfin Bird, are popular food fare at Beach Hut Deli.

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