DENVER, Colo. — Welton St. Café in Denver, Colorado, is about food and family.
While this restaurant is starting to see sales rebound from the COVID-19 crisis, getting employees to back work is presenting a new challenge.
“One day, we have 10 employees. The next day, we have one,” said general manager Fathima Dickerson.
Dickerson is working overtime as she struggles to find staff.
“I know how to do multiple things all at once and that’s for survival,” she said.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 25% of restaurants recently reported recruitment and retention of workers as their top challenges with the reasons ranging from jobless benefits to safety concerns.
Add a higher minimum wage, and Dickerson says this restaurant is struggling to survive.
"When people are just finding the easy way out, it messes up the culture of service,” she said.
While there are government-backed financial assistance programs available for restaurants across the country, Dickerson is doesn’t want to go in debt, something that she takes pride in.
“This has been out the mud; Welton St. surviving COVID,” she said.
Instead, Dickerson is focusing on running this business as a family, something that’s changing.
“That family feel that I enjoy about Welton St. Café, I feel like it’s slowly dying,” she said.
For now, Dickerson is looking to find more workers to help feed her customers and her community.
“You have to get creative about what surviving looks like,” she said.