Restaurants in Vermont are in desperate of workers

Local News

Restaurants have no problem getting customers in the door, but a full staff is a different story. 

On a Tuesday at El Gato, in Essex, there are plenty of people to fill the tables, but not enough to serve those tables.

“It’s been pretty much impossible,” Courtney Wagner, general manager at El Gato in Essex said. 

Due to staffing shortages that are worse at the Burlington location,  the restaurant will close Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

“The staff that we do have are working endless hours and we don’t feel right pushing our staff to exhaustion,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said they’re offering higher wages in hopes of getting people in the door. 

“Fifteen to even up to $20 dollars an hour now,” Wagner said. “I mean we have to. It’s the only way that we will be able to compete with the neighboring businesses that are able to do more than that.” 

Wagner said when people apply for the jobs, they aren’t always showing up for the interview. 

“To run efficiently we need probably fifteen guys between prep line, dishwashers,” Wagner said. “And in two weeks we will be down to five.”

Serkan Cetin, the manager at Istanbul Kabob House in Burlington, said they are experiencing the same need. 

“We have a couple of servers and almost everyone works a double,” Cetin said. “It’s not good because other servers are getting tired and it’s not good service for the tables.”

Their hours of operation have also been adjusted, due to this shortage. 

“Normally we close at nine or ten,” Cetin said.  “Now we close at 8 p.m. and we are not open fully yet.”

Cetin wants to remind people to be patient. 

“You know because we have limited tables, I can’t do anything,” Cetin said. 

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