Colorado Springs Steak ‘n Shake struggles to stay open with just four employees

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As labor shortages continue to rock small businesses across the Pikes Peak Region, business owners are not only having to adapt their models, but also cut hours of operation.

Brandon Lee is a franchise owner of Steak ‘n Shake in Colorado Springs. He is one of the many business owners who are struggling with labor shortages.

“We put our lives savings and it seems everything is a challenge,” Lee told FOX21.

Local Steak ‘n Shake franchise owner Brandon Lee is struggling to keep his business open amid the labor shortage.

Lee has owned this Steak and Shake since 2019, but empty seats and drive-thru lines are a new concept to him.

“We want to be back with what Steak and Shake used to be,” said Lee.

Before the pandemic, 42 employees made up Lee’s workforce, but now it’s him and just three other employees who are working around the clock.

“I’m doing the best I can to keep everything going,” Lee said.

Lee is not alone. A ManpowerGroup U.S. Employment Outlook Survey estimates 69% of employers around the world are having a difficult time finding people to work for them.

A help wanted sign is taped to the door of Lee’s Steak ‘n Shake

But according to the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, more than 15,000 jobs are currently available throughout El Paso and Teller counties. However, it is important to note that those openings line up with the number that was seen before the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, Lee’s Steak ‘n Shake was open seven days a week. Now, the eatery is open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with inside dining only.

“Hopefully, there’s good people that want us to keep this Steak and Shake,” Lee said.

To learn more about Steak ‘n Shake and current job openings, click here. To see local job openings, click here.

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