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Colorado Springs restaurants have trouble hiring amid increased capacity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Some city restaurants say they're having the opposite problem they had at the start of the pandemic. Instead of laying people off, they're having trouble finding people to hire.

Anita Ray, General Manager of the Wobbly Olive in eastern Colorado Springs, told KRDO they're fully staffed now, but that's only because she hired double the number of people she needed, knowing many wouldn't show up.

"I did an open interview and not one person showed up for two days," Ray said. She says other local restaurants have had the same struggles. "We believe as employers that unemployment has paid a big factor, and the extra that they were getting weekly, why work when you're making more money on unemployment?"

Ray said cooks are the hardest people to find. With the recent rise in capacity, she told KRDO servers seem happy to work and make more with tips than they can on unemployment.

"Front of the house is typically not a problem, it's the back of the house, the hourly employees," Ray explained.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reports nearly twenty million dollars has been lost to unemployment fraud since the pandemic started. Officials expect that number to increase as more investigations wrap up.

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Julia Donovan

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