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Staffing shortages, supply chain issues forcing downtown businesses to change hours

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- Rooster's House of Ramen usually opens its doors at 11 a.m. during the week, but it won't be until 3 p.m. for the foreseeable future.

It's a hard decision that owner Mark Henry says is because severe supply chain shortages keep them from getting food deliveries on time.

On top of that, staffing shortages continue to be an issue. Henry says the restaurant was already short-staffed, but it's become worse in the last two weeks. People are moving on to other industries and replacing them with quality workers isn't easy.

Henry says they had an extremely busy December, but without enough staff, they'll only be open for the night shift.

"Instantaneously, it’s very difficult because I think I’m definitely going to see, I’m calculating I’m going to see a 45 percent loss in sales, but I think in the long run it’s going to pay off," said Henry.

Rooster's House of Ramen isn't the only business in Downtown Colorado Springs having to make this decision. The Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs says they've heard from a number of businesses hit hard with employees getting sick.

The Downtown Partnership says they had their monthly meeting on Wednesday. Business owners said they did well over the holiday season, but a number of them are taking hits from the Omicron variant.

"In the last year or so what this has all big pictures done is it has changed the landscape of retail service, restaurant service, labor, and the labor market, so that has changed anyway. On top of that we now have this you know next variant to deal with as well," said Katie Frank, the economic development manager.

The Downtown Partnership says they expect modified business hours to continue for the next month or two. They say you should call a restaurant or store ahead of time to find out if and when they're open. They're also encouraging everyone to be patient during this time.

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Jessica Gruenling

Jessica is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about her here.

Comments

15 Comments

  1. Blaming it on the virus huh? And now the omicron huh? How about you just blame it on lazy and the government handouts (unemployment) People (the “woke” ones) want something for nothing and that is not going to change in the near future.

    1. Unemployment insurance applies to people who have been fired without cause — e.g. layoffs, etc. It is a percentage of the regular wage. So people who normally are working in food service are not quitting to collect unemployment insurance, they probably wouldn’t qualify and if they do that wouldn’t pay the grocery bill much less rent. It is the case that in this labor market and after the shifts from COVID and other economic changes people are moving into job fields that pay more and demand less than jobs like grocery clerk, waitress, cook. We may have to start paying people enough to make it worth it for them to do these jobs and, frankly, it’s probably about time.

      1. Another point regarding unemployment insurance is that it is generally limited to 26 weeks of benefits. While on unemployment, one has to show that they are actively looking for work. They have to keep a log of their work searches, and have to provide it to the unemployment office if/when requested for verification. FYI, I’m speaking from personal experience here, even though the only unemployment benefit that I received was a Security+ boot camp, paid in part by a grant for military veterans.

        1. Absolutely true. Also, unemployment insurance is not a safety net program funded by taxes, it is actual insurance that is paid into and sometimes drawn from. It’s not about helping the poor, it’s about smoothing transitions in a market economy as businesses ebb and flow naturally and have to add and subtract employees. It prevents social and economic disruption for the economy as a whole and facilitates free flow of labor to the places it is best suited to rest. It’s designed to smooth the sharp edges of capitalism. The recent moves to extend and amplify unemployment were not about the unemployed but about preventing a panic during COVID shut downs where Americans reasonably stopped spending and became more careful with their money, putting it into safe savings vehicles. This would have slowed our consumer-based economy down drastically and thrown us into a recession or depression. Politicans extended benefits and handed out checks to keep people buying stuff, then pretended they were being magnanimous.

  2. This is a good story, but probably should include information on the starting wage for the jobs they are having a hard time filling.

    Food service jobs might pay $10 to $15 an hour, about $30,000 a year. Child care can cost up to $10,000 a year, and a one bedroom apartment will cost $14,000 a year. So a single parent with two kids living in an apartment can’t afford to work at a restaurant — she has to find a better paying and lower work job if she’s going to survive.

    Used to be these jobs were taken by high school students who had families to support them. But we changed that and made all of these jobs “adult” jobs because our economy wasn’t providing manufacturing and agriculture jobs for working clas s adults with families any more. This is the consequence of a set of decisions we’ve made as a nation, including the decision to pay every American in the country several thousand dollars last year, which predictably caused inflation and made a $10 an hour wage not viable while at the same time raising food costs so much that restaurants don’t have the funds to raise those wages and attract labor. This was all foreseeable, and not about lazy people. Anyone who has worked food service knows it’s back-breaking and largely thankless work. If you don’t want to pay people to do it, then cook your own food and wash your own dishes.

    1. “So a single parent with two kids living in an apartment can’t afford to work at a restaurant..”
      Minimum wage is NOT supposed to be a living wage. It is to break into the work force.
      BTW In and Out is hiring burger flippers for $18/hr. Burger flippers

      1. “Minimum wage is NOT supposed to be a living wage. It is to break into the work force.”
        .
        Where is that stated? It sounds like an idealist argument for not raising the minimum wage. But in reality, many people are trying to subsist on that minimum wage.

      2. That’s the way it was when I was a kid, but then we had the Bsh/Clintn/Bsh years when our manufacturing got exported and our agriculture further consolidated and automated and we moved all our working clas s Americans into the “service economy”. Then Amazon reduced retail work, and in health care government agencies have raised the barriers to entry so that working clas s families have to pay to get the credentials to do even basic work in that field. During the recession of the Obama years, the federal government actively worked to move teens out of food service and adults into it to combat unemployment numbers. My teen has worked three food service locations, at one there were probably 50% teens. The other two, she was one of maybe two teenagers, everyone else was 20 or older. Now that we are reducing our armed forces, expect to see more job market disruptions as men accustomed to fighting for their country will need to be talked into taking those burger flipping jobs. It’s a pretty big mess, but the founding economic fact is that if you can’t get someone to cook your food for you for the price you are paying him, you either have to flip your own burger or pay him more. I do sympathize with these businesses, crunched between rising costs and a customer base reluctant to pay drastically higher, inflation-driven prices.

  3. Should we discuss that small “mom and pop” businesses don’t have the purchasing power that chain corporations have and this is also why there is this failure?

    1. I’m a big distributism fan so I could read comments on that all day long! It’s not just an economy of scale thing, the regulatory environment in the U.S. is set up to slam small businesses in favor of large corporations.

      1. Marie, I really appreciate your posts and though I traditionally do not reply I do try to read them as you are a wealth of knowledge on the topics you choose to respond. Thank you for taking the time to post them, some people are wise enough to listen / read.

        1. That’s very thoughtful, it’s kind of you to encourage people in these venues that can be so discouraging.

        2. Marie is one of the few people here with the wisdom to comment only on things she knows about, instead of trying to invent responses to things she knows nothing about like some other people here.

  4. hmmm try hiring UNvaccinated people who follow the correct guidance on masking handwashing and see if your staff no longer tests positive for the Moronic.

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