Burlington restaurants banking on college students to help labor shortage

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - With college students returning to Burlington and other visitors out enjoying the weather, many businesses continue to struggle with labor shortages.

Lines were visible Friday outside many downtown restaurants as people waited to get served. Many eateries told us they were too understaffed or busy to even talk, saying it’s a struggle giving the best service while coping with a smaller staff.

At El Gato Cantina on Church Street, they are now only open four days a week and are doing their best to keep staff and customers happy. “We’re hanging on, we’re still doing it. We are coming in every day with smiles on our faces trying to give it 110%, and we just want our guests to see that and be patient with us and remember that behind the smiling faces -- and sometimes the masked faces -- we are still people too,” said Aiden Pichette, El Gato’s general manager.

Restaurants tell us they are cautiously optimistic that the influx of college students will allow them to hire more staff.

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