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Full capacity, not enough staff: Local restaurants make service changes amid hiring challenges

Diners are back in force, but many local restaurants are struggling to fill open positions.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — For the restaurant industry, the end of pandemic restrictions and the start of summer were supposed to signal the beginning of a fresh start. And while diners are back in full force, a growing list of challenges is preventing restaurants from keeping up with the pent-up demand.

“We’re all getting hit with this one-two punch,” said Matt Marple, owner of 7 Hermits Brewing Company, which has locations in Vail Village and Eagle Ranch. “We should be rejoicing and feeling happy that everything is re-opened, but we’re all fighting all these different issues and it’s twice as challenging as it ever has been.”

The primary challenge facing not only local restaurants and restaurants nationwide, but most service industries, is hiring. With a slew of possible reasons for the workforce shortage — including the lack of affordable housing, the extra $300 a week in stimulus benefits and the mass exodus of workers from Eagle County last year during the shutdown — the outcome is that restaurants are not even receiving applications for open positions.

Marple said that he has been trying to hire for cook positions since January and has not received applications. Yuri Kostick, the owner, operator and managing partner at Boneyard in Eagle Ranch, said that his restaurant has had job postings up for four months and hasn’t received a single application. 

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