Shortages of workers at restaurants and other businesses were recorded on Thursday across California, with some even closing completely, as more workers decide to stop working or resign in the ongoing Great Resignation.
Multiple outlets reported on local businesses being so short-staffed on Thursday that entire orders were down to one person.
“Our bosses said that no one was to take time-off between November 22nd and January 2nd,” Ronald Singer, a fast food employee who was only one of two people to show up to work at his Fresno restaurant on Thursday, told the Globe. “But, of course, most just skipped it, so it was just me and the manager covering it. I was on the grill and basically in the kitchen while he served as cashier and went into the kitchen to help when no one was up front.”
“We were swamped, and right now I have no idea how we pulled it off. A lot of people stopped by for one reason or another, and that’s not even counting DoorDash or Postmates people. We had to put a sign on the drive through that it was closed due to the shortage of staff, and many more drove away rather than go inside.”
“Usually in burger places it only takes minutes to get orders. We were going on at 20 minutes yesterday.”
Ronald’s restaurant proved to be more fortunate than some locations. A Rancho Cucamonga Boston Market, a hub of sorts for Thanksgiving pre-made meals and meats, shut their doors on Thursday after no employees showed up for work. The action caused dozens of families to be without Thanksgiving meals and led to mass refunds.
Rather than give a more formal warning, two notes placed in the front window informed customers. “No employees showing up today… We are unable to fulfill the orders!!! We are sorry!!!” the first sign said, with the second recommending an open bakery to order from instead.
The Boston Market story in particular gained national traction on Thursday and Friday, forcing their corporate headquarters to comment on the situation and investigate what happened.
“We are in the process of refunding the Thanksgiving order(s) of every guest impacted by our Rancho Cucamonga location,” noted Boston Market Spokesman Slaton Smith. “We sincerely apologize to every guest who placed an order and came to the restaurant today.”
Rancho Cucamonga Boston Market closes without notice, leaving customers without their prepaid Thanksgiving meals https://t.co/bYbRJgnCYD
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 26, 2021
Worker shortages continue across nation, California
Experts explained to the Globe that the Thanksgiving worker shortages were only the latest in delays and closings spanning multiple businesses dating back to earlier this year.
“Workers had to work from home or spent so much time at home rather than leaving during the pandemic that many don’t want to go back,” said Sacramento-based unskilled labor consultant William Spencer to the Globe on Friday. “For workers in the food and hospitality industries, lower wages with few benefits risking to come into businesses with customers who go unvaccinated or could spread COVID to them.”
“Many have left as a result, with many going into different industries entirely or looking into jobs that are work-from-home. And those that stay, well, many have rethought time off. They just take it now rather than heed to what their manager wants because they are seeing it as their time to do what they want with, not theirs. All those restaurant staffing shortages and closing on Thursday were a direct result of that. People have been surprised about the Great Resignations effect on businesses and offices and the shipping industry. But they don’t realize that the food service and hospitality industries are seeing so many people quit that teenagers are a major labor market again or that resumes for some of these jobs is just a name and a number and an email address now. They’re offering higher pay and even benefits too. But few are biting because they want more than that.”
While many affected restaurants resumed more normal services on Friday, experts warn that the shortages, including in California, will likely disrupt holiday sales, especially as it gets closer to Christmas day.
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