DENVER (CBS4)– According to the Colorado Restaurant Association, 9 out of 10 restaurants are having a tough time hiring staff. Many businesses are returning to normal operations, but they don’t have enough workers to tend to customers rushing in. One Colorado business has done what many hope to do, hire dozens of employees in a matter of weeks.

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Whole Sol Blend Bar opened a new location in Sloan’s Lake in October 2020, right at the start of Colorado’s second COVID-19 wave. They’ve managed to hire 64 employees across all five of its locations in the last four weeks.

“We’re big believers in investing in our employees first. They take care of our customers,” said Phil Dumontet, CEO of Whole Sol. “We’re really confident that investing in our employees will retain them.”

Like many restaurants, Whole Sol struggled to recruit at first. The company started with a 10% pay increase and incentives began to follow.

“We expanded our benefits program. We offer a $50 per month wellness stipend to all employees. It can be used toward anything related to your physical or mental health, like a gym membership, workout clothes, massages, or a chiropractor. Anything related to your health,” Dumontet.

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Whole Sol also began offering full health care benefits to employees and a $1,000 retention bonus after six months of employment. These benefits attracted new recruits like Alyssa Romero.

“I’m a runner. If I wanted to get some new shoes or a massage, they’ll pay $50 of that. I was really intrigued right away when Phil offered that to me,” said Romero.

When Romero isn’t working at Whole Sol, she’s a student-athlete at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She’s a college kid who needed income and noticed a hiring Whole Sol location near her training route.

She ran toward an industry she’s never worked in.

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“You always hear how companies will only hire people with the experience. I had this opportunity, not having experience, to get into it,” said Romero. “I wanted a new experience, especially with me being so young.”

The Colorado Restaurant Association recently created a job board to make it easier for people to find openings within the industry.

Tori Mason