How a local restaurant is trying to retain employees during labor shortage

How a local restaurant is trying to retain employees during labor shortage
Posted at 4:58 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 18:58:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit when it comes to finding workers, and managers are trying to figure out how to recruit and retain employees. It's true for many restaurants, including those in southern Colorado.

News5 spoke to employees at Omelets Etc., a restaurant off of South Academy, and got a look at some of the challenges they're facing every day.

The restaurant is one of many who have had a hard time hiring new employees and retaining them. Because of that, they're asking customers to be patient and understanding because of longer wait time.

"We can't get overwhelmed ourselves. We just have to take a breath and go and do it at our own pace," said Dominique Ortega, a server at the restaurant of nearly 11 years. "We have to explain like we're short-staffed right now, but if you could just bare with us and we'll do our best to help them. We only have two cooks and the owner has been cooking too for seven days a week."

Hiring new employees during a labor shortage and retaining them has also been hard for many restaurants.

"It's frustrating to hire people, and then them show up for a day or something and then not come back again," said Megan Turner, the restaurant's general manager. "Retaining staff has probably been the biggest issue."

Turner says many of the employees who worked at the restaurant before the pandemic came back to work. But for those who didn't, it's been hard, because the remaining employees have had to work more hours to keep up with business.

"It can definitely be frustrating when you don't have enough staff. Your staff then gets burned out, because they work very hard to pick up the slack from everybody else," said Turner.

That's why restaurant employees and anyone in the industry, just want guests to be understanding.

"Just be patient with all the restaurants and bare with your servers," said Ortega.

"People get frustrated and it's hard sometime to get people to understand. We're doing the best we can with what we have and hopefully that will be enough," said Turner.

Meanwhile, Daniel Uresti is one customer who chooses to remain patient.

"The eating out is pleasant if you make it that way. It's what you make it," said Uresti. "The bottom line thing here, I think, is to understand, it's never going to be the same, at least right now, the way it used to be."

To keep employees at Omelets Etc., the general manager also mentioned they've raised wages for staff who are paid hourly. Plus, when business picked up during the summer, tips were good, and they hope that motivated their staff to come back every day.