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Louisville restaurants preparing to open at 100% capacity

Published: Jun. 4, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 9:43 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The signs outside Brownie’s The Shed Grille & Bar display a clear, welcoming message to customers.

“We’re very excited about moving forward,” owner Jason Brown said. “But, [we’re] still trying to keep in mind that this can be taken from us just as fast.”

In a week, Brown and his staff will be welcoming even more customers to the restaurant. On June 11, restaurants across Kentucky will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Brown said he and his staff used this week to prepare. The restaurant closed on Monday so staff could clean off barstools and tables that had to be put away during the pandemic.

“We needed a full day in there without customers to dust off the old barstools and put them back in their rightful spots,” Brown said. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little emotional.”

With a week to go before the restrictions dissolve, Brown said there are hurdles for his team to jump through. Namely, hiring more staff to help with the increased demand.

“No, by no means are we prepared staff-wise. I call it our depth chart, and we’re not up to where we normally are,” Brown said. “But I think you look at it and say, ‘can you still give somewhat the service that you’re capable of,’ and if that’s the case you can check off that box and you open.”

The staffing issues have hit several restaurants in Louisville, including Mike Linnig’s.

Owner Bill Linnig told WAVE 3 News he is down nearly 20 percent of his staff, at a time when business is usually at its highest.

“[It means] everybody has to work longer and harder,” Linnig said. “There’s no stopping. you don’t get to stop. You know, once it starts, you’ve got to go.”

Kentucky Restaurant Association President Stacy Roof told WAVE 3 News restaurants across the state have had trouble hiring and retaining employees. However, she believes it will be easier for them to recruit once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted permanently.

“If that still means that they need to be careful because they don’t have quite enough staff, and they need to limit seating a little bit, or maybe not do so many carry out orders or online orders, whatever that means for them, they’re in the driver’s seat again and they can determine what’s best for their business,” Roof said.

For a list of hospitality jobs in Louisville, click here.

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