MSU vs UM presents staffing challenges

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:19 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Thousands of fans will be in East Lansing this weekend for maybe the most highly anticipated game between the Spartans and Wolverines in the last 20 years. It’s a much-needed shot in the arm for local businesses, but do they have enough staff to handle the extra customers?

Julie Pingston with the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau told News 10 having the game in East Lansing brings in millions of dollars.

“We have a lot of hotels that are fully occupied,” Pingston said. “Some of them are choosing to not open their hotels fully because just of the staffing shortages and they want to be able to best serve their guests and take care of everybody.”

The Kellogg Center, where Bradley Benton is the Rooms Division Manager, is fully booked this weekend.

Benton said, “If we have any rooms that open between now and Saturday, we have a waitlist that’s at least 50 strong right now. So, I think people are excited to get back out there and we’re certainly excited to greet them.”

Many of those fans will make their way to the Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe. They’ll have plenty of people to work on Saturday, but like much of the hospitality industry, the cafe has jobs to fill.

Café owner Steve Montanye said, “We’ve had to adjust our hours. We’ve adjusted our days of service because I never want to be in a position where we don’t have a good complement of staff to take care of our guests either heart of the house staff or front of the house staff.”

The problem of short staffing extends beyond the food industry. Scott Awad owns an event rental business and is also struggling to find workers.

“Rather than saying yes to everybody like we would normally in a normal year, we’re limited on what we can say and making sure the ones we’re taking care of are very pleased,” Awad said.

While East Lansing businesses are doing their best to serve everyone, there’s one thing all fans should remember this weekend.

“If everyone is patient and kind then that will go a long way,” Pingston said.

Tickets for the game are sold out but you can still get a secondary market ticket. Those are running anywhere between $400 and $1,000.

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