A 19-year-old fast food boss says he expects to lose half his staff in the next few weeks, as the labor shortage continues to hammer restaurants
Cabrera said he has matured quickly since taking on the role of general manager. Zerb Mellish for insiders
Jason Cabrera, 19, is the general manager of Layne's Chicken Fingers in Texas and makes $ 50,000 a year.
Cabrera said his biggest problem is finding enough workers given the labor shortage.
He expects to lose eleven employees in the next few weeks if they go to college, he said.
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A 19-year-old chicken restaurant manager in Texas told Insider that he is expected to lose half of his employees in the next few weeks.
Jason Cabrera heads the Layne's Chicken Fingers branch in Allen, Texas, which promoted teenagers to executive positions due to a severe staff shortage. Cabrera, who earns $ 50,000 in salary, estimates he'll have to replace 11 of his 22 junior staff, many of whom are off-state college, in the coming weeks.
The labor shortage is the biggest challenge for him as a restaurant manager, he said.
Garrett Reed, CEO of Layne's, told Insider in a separate interview that he "would normally have at least a handful of seasoned managers, people in their late 20s and early 30s" running his eight restaurants, but the labor shortage led him to have three workers at the Promoted to management positions aged 18 or 19, including Cabrera.
Reed found it "hard to compete" with places like Walmart and McDonalds that can afford higher wages, and many of his workers have gone to join larger companies, he said.
Read more: Leaked documents reveal how McDonald's plans to win the Chicken Sandwich Wars in 2021. Here's everything we know about the fast food battle looming.
Cabrera took on the role a week after his 19th birthday in January.
He told Insider that he was "huge in recruiting" and was using the CareerPlug recruitment service to find workers.
"I always update this page every day," he said.
"I'm always looking for someone and there are days when I don't get one, there are days when I get five."
In the past few months, restaurants have struggled to find enough workers to keep up with customer demand, leading some owners to raise wages and offer large sign-up bonuses to lure employees in.
Attitudes appear to be picking up: grocery and drinking establishments created 194,000 jobs in June, which, according to data from the Department of Labor, represents more than half of all job growth in the leisure and hotel industries that month. However, according to a recent survey, three out of four independent restaurants are still struggling for workers.
Jason Cabrera told Insider that he expects to lose 11 employees in the next few weeks if they go to college. Zerb Mellish for insiders
Cabrera insists the staff shortage hasn't caused a drop in standards. "I make sure people know I have high standards when I do my interviews and all that," Cabrera told Insider. He said he is looking for people who care about service quality and who work urgently.
Cabrera's annual earnings are well above the "study wage" of $ 9.50 an hour Reed says his newcomers get, and the $ 28,860 a year the average 16--19 year old in the US, according to the Ministry of Labor can expect.
His salary does not include any performance-related bonuses that general managers could receive at the end of the year.
Cabrera said he struggled to be taken seriously in previous jobs due to his young age but has accepted the responsibility of his new role.
"I just know that everything that happens in this store is on me," he said. "Everything that goes wrong, everything that goes right, everything comes back to me."
Cabrera told Insider that he is saving up so he can open his own Layne franchise. "I just want to see how quickly I can get there," he said.
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