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Restaurants across the Denver metro area face hiring obstacles

While capacity restrictions loosen, staffing remains an issue
Restaurant workers needed around Colorado
Posted at 5:43 AM, Apr 26, 2021

DENVER — Inside Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery and Restaurant on Sunday, staff were preparing for another big rush of customers.

Even though this family-owned business is grateful for every reservation, co-owner Marla Yetka said she didn’t expect it to be so hard to reopen.

"My husband and I are working 80-hour-plus weeks, you know, and we’d love to be out here talking to guests and we’re back in the kitchen washing dishes," she said.

This problem has gotten worse since January, when they were able to reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity.

"We needed to hire our full kitchen back so we tried with that and it turned out our chef who had been with us for three years had decided to pursue another passion of hers, which was financial planning," Yetka said.

The lack of staff has greatly impacted their operations.

"In the last few months since everyone has been vaccinated, we’ve really seen an increase in demand and we’ve actually had to shut it down and cut off reservations," Yetka said.

Over in the Highlands neighborhood, Bar Dough is seeing a similar hiring problem.

"A lot of people have decided to choose a different, maybe less volatile, market or at least in this climate. It's definitely been increasingly more difficult now that we are opening up — more capacity, more people, I need more hands to take care of them," said General Manager of Bar Dough Joey Bosveld.

Yetka said it has also been difficult to find job seekers. She said out of 20 job interviews she set up, half never showed.

"We’re up all night wondering about how we’re going to make it through the next service and make sure everyone is getting taken care of," she said.