A 46-year-old Italian restaurant in St. Louis said it closed because it couldn't find enough staff. "There's nothing more we can do," its owners said.
The hospitality industry is particularly hard hit by the labor shortage. Horacio Villalobos # Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images
Balducci's, an Italian restaurant in St. Louis, had to close because it couldn't find enough staff.
"If we can't find enough people to fill the business, there's nothing more we can do," said the owners.
Restaurants have shortened their opening times and closed their dining rooms due to staff shortages.
A 46-year-old Italian restaurant in St. Louis said it had been forced to close due to a staff shortage.
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"It's very sad and emotional to let go, but if we don't find enough people to fill the operation, there is nothing more we can do," wrote Balducci's owners in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The US suffers from a huge labor shortage as employees quit their jobs in search of better wages, benefits and working conditions. Factors related to the pandemic, such as the increasing cases of the delta variant of COVID-19, also deter some from applying.
The labor shortage has hit industries from education and healthcare to trucks and technology, but the hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that people are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the hospitality and catering sectors than the national average.
Balducci's owners did not provide any further information about their staff shortage. In a previous Facebook post on June 6, the restaurant said it would close its dining room on Sunday evening and only offer takeout and curb orders.
"This is not permanent, but it will take until we are able to adequately staff the restaurant we are in to provide the service our guests have come to expect," said the restaurant back then. It is unclear whether this policy stayed in place until the restaurant closed.
Restaurants have changed their opening hours or closed their dining rooms because they cannot find enough staff to work as usual and because the labor is becoming more expensive. Some have also increased menu prices, like a chicken restaurant in Pennsylvania that has been increasing prices every month since May because of rising labor and ingredient costs.
Some restaurants have tried to increase both recruitment and retention by increasing wages, offering recruitment and performance rewards, and other perks.
Some say this has been successful, like the owner of Dirt Candy in Manhattan who said she had no problem occupying her restaurant after increasing the starting wage to $ 25. However, other independent restaurants say they can't compete with chains like McDonald's and Starbucks on wages.
Balducci's was opened in 1975 by the grandson of Italian immigrants and has been owned by the Balducci family since then, according to its website.
Longevity is "one of the things Balducci employees are most proud of," says the restaurant's website, adding that many young people have worked there paying for school, cars and down payments for houses.
Balducci said in his Facebook post on Sunday: "We cannot thank our great employees enough for staying with us and fighting to the end."
Extended coverage module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-it-will-be
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