Fast food, restaurant worker shortages impacting local restaurants, chains

Restaurant worker shortage impacts the Carolinas

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) -During the pandemic, people have and continue to call restaurant and fast food workers essential.

However, as the pandemic continues and more people are getting back outside, some restaurants and chains are struggling to keep up.

Business owners blame it on the lack of people wanting to work in drive-thrus or as waiters.

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They do not have enough staff to continue operating as normal. This national problem is hitting our own areas.

One restaurant WBTV attempted to interview about their staffing shortage could not talk on camera.

It wasn’t just because the restaurant was packed with people for lunch, but also there were only two people working at the time -- one cashier and one person in the kitchen.

As the rain fell this afternoon in downtown Salisbury, people found shelter in the restaurants lining the sidewalks.

One place they could not duck into at lunchtime is La Pasta. The restaurant is closed until dinner.

The owners say they have not been able to open for lunch for three weeks because of staff shortages. In the windows of the business, there are two “Now Hiring” signs.

These signs are a common theme around Salisbury.

Fast food restaurants across the town have signs posted looking for new people to come work. It is not just in Salisbury.

Zaxby’s in Fort Mill closed because not enough people showed up to work.

People across the Carolinas say some restaurants close on Sundays without warning citing staffing shortages.

Industry experts are providing some reasoning as to why.

WBTV talked to three fast-food managers who said the main reasons why people are not coming back to work are the coronavirus closing daycares and students being in virtual schooling, people finding more consistent jobs, the exposure to COVID-19 in restaurants being too high and people making more money on unemployment.

One manager says he has been doing this for over 20 years and never had a harder time finding people to hire.

They say job fairs are virtually empty and some are even offering incentives like a hiring bonus just to get you through the door.

Those who are working are apparently overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the demand of being worked harder.

Some fast-food restaurants are forced to change how they operate like closing down dining rooms for drive-thru only ordering.

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