Explorium Brew Pub owner has 'tongue-in-cheek' reminder to customers to be nice amid staffing shortage

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Explorium Brew Pub is one of many businesses struggling to find workers right now.

Mike Doble is the owner of both Milwaukee area locations. He says finding and keeping good staff has only gotten harder since reopening after the pandemic. 

"A lot of the people that were laid off, that we had to layoff...they had to get other jobs and do other things to make ends meet," said Doble. "So that’s what started the issue that we’re having with staffing. A lot of people that work in hospitality and some of the... some of the lesser skilled positions found other things to do and just haven’t returned to the industry."

He says dishwashers, busboys, food runners and kitchen line expeditors are some of the hardest positions to fill and they keep a restaurant running smoothly. 

One of his managers came up with an idea for a way to make customers more aware. 

Last weekend the staff wore shirts that said, "Please be patient, there's like three of us" on the back. 

It caught the attention of people in the restaurant and a lot of people online too. 

"A tongue-in-cheek reminder that hey, we’re doing our best. We’re trying to serve you the best we can, but it is very difficult to get staff right now," said Doble. 

Lester Proctor, a bartender at the Third Ward location, says he was all for it. 

"It's nice to not have to actually say it," said Proctor. 

Doble says humor is still on the menu, even if customers have to wait a little bit longer for it. 

"People find it funny, and I think it also draws attention that we are a little short-staffed," said Proctor. 

Doble said the Bucks Championship was a busy day for his restaurants. In the Third Ward, the kitchen staff saw 425 tickets in a short amount of time. A workload that would usually require about 18 employees, he did with just five in the kitchen.

He says the staff is usually the one to take the brunt of angry customers, so he wants them to know he's behind them. 

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