Some restaurants are temporarily closing because they can’t find enough workers. One said diners have gotten ruder amid the labor shortage and even made staff cry.

Server at a restaurant in California
Some restaurants say the worker shortage is making it harder for them to pay rent. Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise/Getty Images
  • Some restaurants are temporarily closing or cutting their hours because of the labor shortage.
  • One opened for an hour less each day after staffing fell by nearly 50% compared with normal years.
  • A third of former hospitality workers said in a Joblist poll that they won’t return to the industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some restaurants are cutting down their opening hours or temporarily closing for days on end because they simply can’t find enough workers to serve diners, amid the huge labor shortage hitting the hospitality industry.

One even shut down for a day after rude diners swore at staff and made them cry.

Central City Tap House in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said it was closing its doors “until we can find a full enough roster in our kitchen to re-open to our customers,” and urged people to apply for jobs at the company, Fox 17 first reported.

Fisher Lake Inn in Three Rivers, Michigan, also shut down Thursday and Friday “due to a staff shortage,” it said on Facebook.

“I’m about 80-85% staffed up for my summer season, so we are making it work,” Jeff Trickey, the restaurant’s owner, told Fox 17. “Periodically though, staff can’t work, and if I don’t have enough staff to operate the business then I can’t open.”

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Restaurants in Astoria, Oregon, were also forced to slash their operating hours after struggling to find enough staff, according to a report by The Astorian. This includes the Bridgewater Bistro, which closed its restaurant Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on other days, to give current staff a break after it couldn’t find enough new cooks, servers, and dishwashers.

In Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Brady’s Pub and Taka Mediterranean Bar and Grill are also closing two days a week at what should be their peak season, while nearby seafood restaurant McSeagull’s shortened operating hours by an hour each day in the spring after its staffing fell by nearly 50% compared to normal years, The Boothbay Register reported.

One restaurant in Brewster, Massachusetts, even shut down for a “day of happiness” last week after rude diners swore at staff and made them cry.

Brandi Felt Castellano, co-owner of Apt Cape Cod, told The New York Times that diners seemed unprepared for the longer wait times and limited menus associated with the current staffing and supply shortages.

But not all the rudeness was caused by the labor shortage, Felt Castellano said. She told The Times that one group of diners threatened to sue the restaurant after they didn’t get the specific table they had requested.

Another customer got angry at a young employee who told him they could not take his breakfast takeout order because the restaurant hadn’t opened yet.

One in 3 former hospitality workers don’t want to return to the industry

The US is suffering from a severe shortage of workers which the US Chamber of Commerce has called a “national economic emergency.”

Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington told Insider that hospitality workers are leaving the industry “in droves,” in search of better pay and benefits. A third of former hospitality workers said in a Joblist poll that they wouldn’t return to the industry, and Harrington said that is primarily driven by people in entry-level, hourly-paid, and customer-facing jobs.

Some are hiking up wages because of the shortage, which is pushing menu prices up. Some restaurants say the worker shortage is making it harder for them to pay rent, too.

The Federal Reserve said the labor squeeze could last months – but Bank of America expects the job market to recover by early 2022.