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Chick-fil-A, McDonald's close some dining rooms amid worker shortage

Restaurants struggle with food costs, labor shortages
Restaurants struggle with food costs, labor s... 01:45

A Chick-fil-A in a shopping center in Bessemer, Alabama, is describing itself as "in the midst of a staffing crisis" and is closing its dining room as of Monday. "Our team members are exhausted and there is no relief for them in our roster," the eatery explained in a notice posted Saturday on its Facebook page. The outlet said it would continue operating its drive-thru and mobile curbside service. 

Things were even worse at several other Alabama Chick-fil-As. 

"You may have noticed that we have closed our dining room, turned off curbside delivery and limited the amount of catering orders we will accept," a Chick-fil-A in Calera posted last Friday. "This was done to help reduce the stress on our team."

The outlet was seeing far fewer applicants, people not showing up for interviews or "accepting a job only to resign within their first couple weeks," according to Brad Johnson, the location's operator. Anyone looking for a fast-paced job with Sundays off should give them a call, he added. 

A Chick-fil-A in Madison said on Sunday it was temporarily closing its dining room and turning off its mobile curbside ordering option as well as its mobile carryout service, calling its limited count of workers "tired and overextended." 

The uphill fight to hire and retain fast-food and other workers was also illustrated in an appeal on social media by Dave's Pizza in Homewood, Alabama, which declares "We will literally hire anyone." 

WE WILL LITERALLY HIRE ANYONE. IF YOU'RE ON UNEMPLOYMENT AND CAN'T FIND A JOB, CALL US; WE'LL HIRE YOU.

Posted by Dave's Pizza on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The leisure and hospitality sector is facing a labor crunch as restaurants try to staff up to serve more patrons while burned-out restaurant workers leave for other jobs at record rates

"Compared to pre-pandemic times, [the sector is] having a hard time turning job openings into hires, and employers in the industry are having a hard time retaining the workers they already have," Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed, told CBS MoneyWatch recently. "Employers now have this two-sided problem, having a relatively hard time bringing folks on and having to deal with holding on to people that they do have."

Other entities beyond restaurants are struggling to hire workers, with farm workers in limited supply and a shortage of bus drivers prompting one school in Wilmington, Delaware, to offer $700 to parents who drive their own kids to class. 

There are more than 2,400 Chick-fil-A restaurants across the U.S., according to the Atlanta-based company's website. The company confirmed some of its individually owned and operated restaurants had temporarily closed their dining rooms, either due to staffing trouble or rising COVID-19 cases in their communities.

McDonald's worker shortage

Staffing shortages also prompted a North Carolina McDonald's to close its dining room, according to Business Insider. McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment and the person who answered the phone at the Charlotte eatery confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch that the outlet was short-staffed but remains open. It was not clear if that included the dining room. 

The fast-food chain's restaurants in the state hosted a day of open interviews earlier this month in a bid to hire 9,000 to fill positions at more than 300 outlets in North Carolina. Last month, a McDonald's in Belmont, North Carolina, said it would pay new employees up to $20 an hour in an effort to bulk up staff.

McDonald's in May raised pay by an average of 10% at its corporate-owned U.S. restaurants, with many of its franchises also hiking wages and offering other incentives to attract and keep workers.

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