Rosenberg’s owner Joshua Pollack has temporarily closed the bagel shop’s Five Points location for a second time this year.
But compared to January, when he said the company “might not exist in Colorado next year,” the tone this time is different.
“Rosenberg’s isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Pollack said Wednesday.
Changes, however, are in store.
Pollack said he continues to struggle to hire employees, which is why the Five Points at 725 E. 26th Ave. hasn’t been open since Mother’s Day, May 8.
“We had some key people leave that location after holding on as long as they could,” Pollack said. “It was 70+ hour weeks for over a year straight, and there’s no end in sight.”
The location, one of four the company runs, will reopen next month. But when it does, made-to-order sandwiches — even a basic bagel and schmear — will no longer be available. Customers will still be able to buy bagels, bread and pastries, smoked fish and tubs of cream cheese. But they’ll need to assemble things themselves.
“I can’t control the labor force or the economy, but what I can control is my service model,” Pollack said. “I can control how difficult it is for my managers and employees to achieve a shift.”
Pollack said made-to-order sandwiches will return when there’s staffing to support them.
The change isn’t being made at Rosenberg’s other locations in Boulder and Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, where Pollack said he’s fully staffed. Boulder can easily hire students, he said, and some Five Points employees have moved to Stanley.
“We have a fully staffed restaurant at Stanley now, and everyone is like, ‘Oh wow this is what it’s supposed to be like. I don’t have to pull a double, and I don’t have to be the only line cook on a Saturday, cooking a thousand bacon, egg and cheeses,’” Pollack said.
But Pollack said he is changing the opening time for all his locations to 7 a.m., an hour later than it has been. And they’ll be closed on both Monday and Tuesday, compared to just Monday now.
Pollack said Mother’s Day is Rosenberg’s busiest day of the year. He had eight employees working in Five Points, but needed double that for a full staff, and said a manager quit that day after feeling burnt out.
Pollack said managers at Rosenberg’s can make upwards of $100,000 a year plus benefits, and hourly workers make around $22 to $30 an hour.
“The pay is not the issue, the issue is finding people that want to do this job,” Pollack said.
While the Five Points location is closed, Pollack plans to give the space a facelift and update the shop to fit its more efficient retail model. There will be no indoor seating, but he noted there’s outdoor seating available nearby.
Pollack said he’s losing money while Five Points is closed, but it’s a sacrifice he needs to make.
“We want people to be excited about coming back to work again because without a good core staff, we can’t continue to provide the best bagels in town,” he said.