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Local restaurant prepares to celebrate New Years Eve

After facing a variety of struggles including worker shortages and lack of vendors, restaurants in Derry Township said they're ready to ring in the new year.
Credit: Shaquille Omari

HERSHEY, Pa. — On December 31st, downtown Hershey is returning to its in-person festivities; fireworks, live music and the Hershey kiss raise to ring in the new year.

At The Chocolate Grill restaurant, excitement filled the room as dozens grabbed food and drinks ahead of the celebrations.

Co-owner, Jessica Demopoulos said they're ready for the big night.

"Well we've been preparing all week, ordering extra food, trying to keep our staff ready to go," Demopoulos said.

Throughout the year, businesses across the country have faced several setbacks and shortages.

Data from The National Restaurant Association reported that jobs in the restaurant industry remained 8 percent below their pre-pandemic peak.

The lack of employees at The Chocolate Grill prevented staff from taking reservations. Demopolos added that taking reservations require more staff members to answer phone calls and handle incoming changes.

"For the most part it benefits everybody because 100 percent of the time, 100 percent of tables can be sat," she said.

With her restaurant bustling with customers, Demopolos said ringing in the new year at work is a special feeling.

"It's different because people are always celebrating, so it puts a fun spin on it," she said. 

For information on New Year's Eve celebrations at Hershey Park, click here.

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