Boston restaurant owner facing staff shortage amid ‘surge’ in business
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The Boston Marathon will return this year, for the first time since 2019, and local business owners are preparing for the influx of tourists, and hopefully, customers. The Marathon typically brings in millions of dollars–$32.2 million, in the most recent data available from a 2017 Greater Boston Visitors Bureau report–in revenue to the city–greatly needed now as business owners recover from pandemic-related losses.
Local restaurants must ensure that there are enough staff and supply to meet demand, especially in Copley Square, where the Marathon’s finish line is.
"We had to schedule extra staff and prepare some bulk recipes," said Clover Food Lab General Manager Keith Gleason. "There may be some bumps and bruises along the way, but we’re going to make a big splash."
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Down the road at Luke’s Lobster Shack, shift leader Gary Garcia says that the store has been sure to stock up on popular items, including bread, despite some issues with their supplier. Garcia, who has worked at Luke’s for four years, knows how crowded and difficult to navigate the city can get on marathon weekends but is glad to see tourists back.
"[The marathon] means a lot to the city," he said. "It’s good to see people coming in from the suburbs."
Even up-scale, sit-down eateries are preparing for the flood of marathon runners and tourists–sometimes by tweaking what’s on the menu, according to Sorellina manager Mazzi Ouyahia. At Sorellina, a sophisticated Italian-Mediterranean restaurant, Chef Jamie Mammano and staff have worked to make some of their dishes "approachable"–especially their pasta dishes. Pasta is a popular item on Marathon weekend, as runners attempt to "carb load", or eat extra carbohydrates in order to properly fuel for the marathon.
Further from the finish line but still on the race route, Spanish eatery and wine bar Taberno de Haro, owned by Deborah Hansen, has prepared for the interruptions to traffic that the marathon typically brings.
"We can’t get any deliveries on Monday morning, so I had to order all of my ingredients for Sunday morning," Hansen said. "So my walk-in will be stuffed to the gills."
Despite the interruptions to supply, Hansen said she already saw a busier night on Friday. "I’m seeing t-shirts from different places in the country, hearing different accents…it’s definitely Marathon weekend!"
Hansen, a life-long Boston resident, is glad to see the marathon back. "It’s a return to all things good and positive," she said. "…a real sign of hope."
Hope is a common theme for Bostonians this weekend, as is strength. "Boston Strong," the slogan popularized after the Boston Bombing attacks of 2013, is printed on official Boston Athletic Association shirts sold at Marathon Sports.
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Marathon Sports, a chain of sporting goods retailers, is owned by Colin Peddie, who stood by the door of their Copley Square location welcoming in crowds of customers. He spoke of his joy at the marathon’s return with misty eyes.
"It feels unbelievable to be back. It’s great to see the positive energy," said Peddie, a running enthusiast, and 1996 Olympic trial qualifier.
The excitement is not limited to business owners. Bostonians feel "fantastic" about the marathon’s return, according to Erik D’Entremont, a Boston native. When it was canceled this year, it was "terrible and depressing."
D’Entremont elaborated, "This is a tradition that can never be swayed by anything again. Not a bombing and not a pandemic."
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