LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - As the pandemic eases it would seem like it should be getting easier to just stroll into your local fast food restaurant and be served, but that is not quite yet the case.
Fast food restaurants, at least many in Ohio, are dealing with a severe shortage of workers, and it is a good bet that that shortage may continue into and through the summer.
John Barker is the president of the Ohio Restaurant Association, and he said it is an industry-wide issue across the state.
“When you don’t have enough staff you have to make compromises, and the compromises we’re seeing now is people do things like closing on Mondays or closing on Mondays and Tuesdays,” he said. “There are limited hours.”
An issue may be the increased unemployment benefits that Ohioans, who are out of work, are receiving, and will continue to receive through September, along with the federal stimulus payments that may, in some cases, but not all, make it more lucrative to stay home than work for Ohio’s minimum wage of $8.80 an hour.
Multiple unfilled jobs have made it difficult for restaurant owners to provide the quick service that people have come to expect at fast-food restaurants and in some cases have caused restaurants to close.
Those that have stayed open, are struggling to bounce back from the pandemic, Baker said.
“All of those are taking away top-line sales that normally allow them to get closer and closer to profitability,” he said. “These are businesses that have lost money for 13 consecutive months.”