ESSEX, Vt. (WFFF) — Restaurants have no problem getting customers in the door, but a full staff is a different story.
On Tuesday at El Gato in Essex, Vermont there were plenty of people to fill the tables, but not enough to serve those tables. “It’s been pretty much impossible,” said Courtney Wagner, El Gato’s general manager.
“The staff that we do have are working endless hours and we don’t feel right pushing our staff to exhaustion,” Wagner said. Due to staffing shortages, the restaurant will be closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Within the industry, Mondays are often the least profitable day of the week.
Wagner said they’re offering higher wages in hopes of getting people in the door. “Fifteen to even up to $20 dollars an hour now,” Wagner said. “We have to. It’s the only way that we will be able to compete with the neighboring businesses that are able to do more than that.”
Wagner said when people apply for the jobs, they aren’t always showing up for the interview. “To run efficiently, we need probably fifteen guys between prep line, dishwashers,” Wagner said. “And in two weeks, we will be down to five.”
Serkan Cetin, the manager at Istanbul Kabob House in Burlington, Vermont, said they are experiencing the same need. “We have a couple of servers and almost everyone works a double,” Cetin said. “It’s not good, because other servers are getting tired, and it’s not good service for the tables.”
Their hours of operation have also been adjusted due to this shortage. “Normally, we close at 9 or 10,” Cetin said. “Now we close at 8 p.m., and we are not open fully yet.”
Cetin wants to remind people to be patient. “Because we have limited tables, I can’t do anything,” she said.