COLORADO SPRINGS — As the service industry staffing shortage shows no sign of letting up, local restaurants are now taking measures they were hoping to avoid.
Even well-established restaurants are not only turning away business, but periodically shutting down all together.
A taste of home is what's kept Germany native Susanne Vasquez on her feet the past 11 years working at Edelweiss Restaurant.
“It’s really authentic. I think it's as authentic as it gets,” Vasquez said. “This is like a family to me. I was really homesick when I first got here.”
It’s why the pandemic was so unnerving.
“It was really scary,” she said. “You didn’t know what would happen next.”
One question always stuck with her.
“When would we open,” she said. “Would people still come out to eat?”
And if this weekend’s crowds were any indication, the customers are back.
“800 people a day,” Vasquez said. “March was better than some holiday seasons.”
It should be a reason to celebrate.
“I don’t want to complain about being too busy,” she said.
“There is a problem,” she said.”
Edelweiss, like most other service-oriented businesses, can’t find enough people to serve these crowds.
“We have to close rooms, we have to turn people away that do not have a reservation at some point,” Vasquez said.
It’s to the point where even though they’re being paid overtime, no amount of money can keep their worn out workers on their feet.
“For the next three Mondays… we have to close… to give people who do work, to give them a little rest,” she said.
The irony of that is not lost on her.
“It’s saddening, it’s sad,” she said. “Because during COVID, we had a lot of people and no work. And now we have a lot of work and nobody to work.”
It’s a problem for sure, but it’s all about perspective.
“It’s a great place,” she said. “I feel like it's a great place to be.”