Understaffing in restaurant business causing dilemmas


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Due to COVID, over 17% of American Restaurants are permanently shutting down which is causing a lot of understaffing. A way to support your favorite restaurants is to order a takeout meal or even dine in!

During the pandemic, restaurants faced many challenges trying to keep their businesses afloat. Many were constantly in the limbo between being shut down and then having to open back up. This caused many people to be laid off throughout the industry. According to an article on cnbc.com, around 2.5 million people lost their jobs just in the restaurant business. 

Working in a restaurant during COVID was quite a hassle. The restrictions were always changing concerning how many people could be in the restaurant and if masks had to be worn the whole time or not. Many workers believed that with the restrictions changing, more stress and difficulties presented in customer interactions. The constant change in the capacity regulations led to confusion and struggles with the workers trying to learn the ropes of the new guidelines. 

James Proudfit, a senior who works in the food industry, said that, “Working in a restaurant during COVID-19 was a lot different than before the pandemic. The constant changes were and are very stressful, and the customers were not very understanding.”

Some people believe that the government-funded checks are causing many to not want to work. In the 2021 fiscal year, the Department of Labor has given out $136.1 million so far. Proudfit believes that the stimulus checks that went and are going out are what is causing many workers to not come back. 

Others believe that workers aren’t coming back because there aren’t many people that care about the businesses. Not many employees would stay for the long shifts when someone called off or if someone got sick.  

At the beginning of the pandemic, many employers believed that it was simply a small setback and some places did not take it seriously. Once the pandemic was in full swing, more businesses started to offer sign-on bonuses and different rewards for new employees who started later in the pandemic. Many that started earlier do not feel that these new bonuses were fair as they weren’t given anything and stayed through the hardest times. 

Ethan Taylor, a junior who worked in the food industry says, “I feel like Eat’n Park is currently not having the greatest opportunity with training or anything relating to helping the newer employees. I have never gone through training and it was incredibly hard. I don’t think it’s fair for those who were employed before the pandemic to have proper training, and more.” 

As the pandemic progresses, new Delta variants are popping up and people who catch the virus are showing more rapid symptoms. Thus, restaurants are concerned about what that means for their business. Taylor believes that the vaccine will hopefully work to control the impending symptoms of the variants, and if not, then new protocols will need to be put in place. Proudfit believes as well that the Delta variants will hopefully be contained, but if not, new safeties will be put in place. 

Despite these looming questions about the future of the restaurant industry, there are many ways to support local businesses and help them throughout this disarray such as dining in or carrying out from local restaurants.