DENVER (CBS4)– According to the Colorado Restaurant Association, nine out of ten restaurants are having trouble recruiting. The hospitality industry is welcoming swarms of guests after a year of COVID-19 restrictions, but guests are coming back faster than workers. The CRA has introduced a job board to simplify the hiring process.

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“Restaurants cannot really recover until they are 100% occupied again, and if they do not have full staff they will not be able to reach 100% capacity,” explains Sonia Riggs, CRA- President and CEO.

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Potential candidates can search for vacancies by location, position, job status and shift on corestaurantjobs.com. Riggs says the slow return of restaurant workers after the pandemic could be due to a number of things.

“We are seeing improved unemployment benefits. We see people worrying about going back to work if they are not fully vaccinated. We see problems with childcare. There are people who have left the industry entirely, ”said Riggs.

A recent survey by the CRA found that 95% of restaurants have increased their wages and 21% have expanded their service packages to attract and retain talent.

Rita Price, the owner of Rita’s Law in Five Points, does not have the resources to provide incentives.

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“I wish, but I’m really just trying to be authentic and show people that this is a great place to work,” Price said. “When I toasted my first ‘I’m hiring’, I thought: Let’s go! I thought it was going to be crazy. I checked my mailbox and it was like two résumés. It’s a really tough place for a business owner. “

With almost all COVID restrictions gone, many customers are returning hoping to see the bar they knew and loved. However, the shortage of staff in many popular locations has changed the quality of service.

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“People want the best service and the best of everything, but everyone struggles. We want to give this to you, but we don’t have enough people now. Please be patient, ”Price said. “I don’t want the great people I have to burn out because they work too hard.”

Steuben’s Uptown hires every position from waiter to cook. Jobs are posted online, but they also offer $ 150 to employees hiring candidates.

“We offer a high subsistence level. It’s an average of $ 20 an hour and also a 3% weekly revenue bonus for back office workers. That is based on our total sales for the week and they are shared across the team, ”said Thach Tran, Executive Chef.

Tran says the restaurant needs to get creative and focus on dishes that cost less to make.

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“We pay attention to the selection that we put on our menu. That way we can deal really well with work and the rising cost of food, ”said Tran.

Both Tran and Price still say that quality and customer service are a priority, despite the challenge of fewer staff and rising costs. Both say they are willing to train and hire people with little restaurant experience. In the meantime, they hope customers understand their COVID recovery process.

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“If you wait too long for a table, it’s because the restaurant is a little understaffed and works a little slower than normal. Please be patient and hopefully their servers will take care of you and let you know what happens. We will do our best so that you enjoy your time off, ”said Tran.