By Nick Emmons, WBZ-TV

WORCESTER (CBS) – As coronavirus cases continue to drop off and vaccinations increase, restaurants are seeing customers return to dining rooms – but some are finding it difficult to serve everyone. At Antonio’s Pizza in Worcester, a sign on the front door warns customers that their order might take longer than usual. Assistant manager Alma Velazco says, “I never thought we’d be as shorthanded as we are right now.”

In a normal year, Antonio’s would employ anywhere from 20 to 25 servers. Right now, General Manager Miguel Baredes says they have only nine on staff. That means on most shifts, only two servers are responsible for some 25 tables. “Now we will get slammed, and have a full restaurant, and only have two servers,” says Velazco, “the two servers can only do so much, so I think it’s been hurting us a little bit.”

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So what’s behind the staffing problems? Velazco thinks there are a few reasons from childcare, to a general belief that the industry isn’t very stable. After all, it was decimated in just a few months during the pandemic. Velasco is now trying to convince people that business is booming, and you can make $18 to $20 per hour. “We definitely have the clientele; we definitely have the business,” Velazco says, “now it’s just trying to get people to come in to work.”

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The restaurant is doing whatever it can to bring in new staff, including holding a job fair this Saturday at 9:00 am. Anyone who’s interested can show up, fill out an application, and possibly be hired on the spot.

Baredes says, “right now I’m looking for at least 10 servers, and five bartenders.”

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Antonio’s Pizza is located at 268 Chandler St. Worcester, MA 01602