Food Understaffed restaurants are being forced to choose between closing earlier and shutting their dining rooms
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- Restaurants are closing earlier or shutting their dining rooms because of the labor shortage.
- They say this means they can provide better and faster service and save money on labor.
- But one cafe owner said some staff actually quit after she cut its hours.
If you've eaten out recently, you may have noticed that it was a little different.
Some restaurants are opening later and closing earlier, while others are shutting their dining rooms altogether.
In some locations this is because of rising cases of theor . But many restaurants say it's because of the huge labor shortage.
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Editor’s note: I have stayed at the Grand Floridian on multiple press trips that were hosted by Disney World. In keeping with TPG editorial policy, this is not a formal review of the property since I have not stayed on a regular paid rate. All thoughts shared are my own to help you decide if …When you think of the grandest, most opulent, iconic, crème de la crème of Disney World resorts, there’s a good chance that images of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa dance through your head. This resort exudes a Disneyized-version of turn-of-the-century Victorian charm that leans into the use of light colors, stained glass, chandeliers, marble, high ceilings, a cage elevator and even live piano music.
Both independent restaurants and chains including, , and have been or pivoting to takeout-only both because and because .
Many of the restaurants Insider spoke to said they had little choice but to slash hours or shut their dining rooms.
Willie Degel, the owner of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse, said its Manhattan West Side restaurant, which was open 11 a.m. to 11.p.m. seven days a week before the pandemic, is now only open 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday. The chain's restaurants in Georgia are operating on "minimal hours," too, he added.
"In the restaurant business you have to control every penny," Degel said. He based the new opening times on the restaurants' sales and labor costs per hour.
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"Everything is numbers," Degel added. He decided against closing Uncle Jack's dining rooms because it mainly had sit-in diners.
Robert Cvetkovski, the CEO of Rhumcay Island Grille, a 700-person restaurant in Destin, Florida, cut back on most of its late-night entertainment.
"Due to the limited staff we had to decide the quality of life for the team members already overworked," Cvetkovski said. He said he felt that eliminating nightlife and late-night hours would help create a more stable environment.
Robin LaForge, who owns Cheniere Shack in West Monroe, Louisiana, decided to shut his restaurant two days a week and close it an hour earlier on other days, after its staffing fell by roughly three-quarters.
LaForge said that this meant that customers were getting better service and food, though he said that this has contributed towards revenues dropping by up to 40%.
But swapping a company's opening hours can actually make it harder to find staff. Mirna McCormack, who owns Korner Cafe in Lewisville, Texas, said that some staff quit after she changed its closing time from 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. because they could only work evening shifts.
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Most restaurants planned on chopping their opening hours in advance - but some have closed randomly after finding themselves short-staffed. This includes Joey's Chicken Shack in Pennsylvania, whichbecause it couldn't get enough staff in. A burrito restaurant in Georgia also had to temporarily cut its opening hours after .
Some restaurants have temporarily stopped dine-in or takeout
Bombay Mahal in Brunswick, Maine,and pivoted to takeout-only.
Owner Raj Sharma told Insider that during the pandemic the restaurant had a lot of new customers who only ordered takeout. Sharma said that the new model worked "very well.
Kelly's Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles, Virginia, is one of the few others that did the opposite by stopping takeout. Co-owner Colleen Kelley said she wanted to prioritize dine-in customers to ensure service was quick and food was high-quality.
But sometimes orders were still slower than usual. "You ask [diners] to please be patient, but sometimes they forget," she said. "They get mad, and then you get a bad review."
Do you work in the restaurant industry? Got a story? Email this reporter at email@example.com.Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
Understaffed restaurants are pushing customers to order at digital kiosks. As well as alleviating the labor shortage, the kiosks bring in bigger revenues. .
The CEO of digital kiosk company GRUBBRR said its phone were currently "ringing off the hook" as demand booms during the labor shortage.Sam Zietz, CEO of digital-kiosk maker GRUBBRR, told Insider that demand for its products had boomed during the labor shortage.