Long hours, low staff, hard-to-please customers causing restaurant workers to leave industry

PeachTree Restaurant
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 19:37:25-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — Trying to juggle life along with plates and silverware in hand, some restaurant industry workers are having to choose between helping keep the doors open and their peace of mind.

Sydney Osborn and other employees have spent a lot of their time inside the PeachTree Cafeteria during the pandemic.

“We also have jobs outside of our regular jobs. We’re all mothers, we’re all students — we’re everything,” Osborn said.

She's assistant manager at PeachTree Cafeteria’s location on 12th Street and Brooklyn Avenue.

During these tough times, employees at PeachTree Cafeteria are just trying to earn a living with a lack of staff and long hours.

“You know your turnover is different so you’re trying to juggle with that and so when you don’t have a lot of employment, it’s just me and the other managers, so you’re spending a lot of your time here,” said Osborn.

However as the delta variant continues to spread, customers not complying with mask and social distancing guidelines have caused a few employees at PeachTree to quit.

“Our lobby is closed, it’s been closed during the pandemic, and a lot of people aren’t happy with that or satisfied with that. We understand some people are vaccinated but we’re still following protocols and stuff like that,” Osborn said.

For managers and owners, it’s tough trying to bring in more workers to help as many people return to in-person dining.

“Because of technology and the pandemic a lot of other industries are more flexible and the restaurants have kind of fell on the totem poll,” said Derrick Wilmore, manager and grandson of PeachTree Cafeteria’s owner.

“So that’s one of the main reasons, or one of the main hits that we take, is that labor shortage," Wilmore said. "It’s the fact that people don’t believe they can make a decent living working here.”

While the work load increases and staffing decreases, the employees at both PeachTree Cafeteria locations say can handle it all, but they’re asking for understanding as they try to keep the doors open, lines short, and stomachs full.

“Of course we’re here to serve the people and give great food, we’re here for you guys so just bear with us. We’re trying our best and trying to make it during this pandemic,” Wilmore said.

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