Your local Chick-fil-A may look a little different as of late, and there's a particular reason as to why. In late August, CBS News reported that the fast-food chain has been dealing with a worker shortage that has affected numerous locations, particularly those in Alabama. According to experts, this shortage falls amid widespread struggles in the leisure and hospitality sector. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly played a factor.
CBS News cited numerous Chick-fil-A locations in Alabama that are currently struggling to keep their locations open while dealing with a lack of an adequate number of workers in their restaurants. One Chick-fil-A location in Bessemer, Alabama wrote in a notice that was posted on their Facebook account that they were in the "midst of a staffing crisis." They added, "Our team members are exhausted and there is no relief for them in our roster." Despite not having enough individuals on their staff, the location noted that they would continue drive-thru and mobile ordering services.
While the Bessemer, Alabama location shared that they weren't doing well amid this staffing crisis, others are apparently worse off. At another Alabama location, in Calera, posted on their Facebook account that they were also dealing with this issue while trying to stay open to serve customers. The location wrote on social media, "You may have noticed that we have closed our dining room, turned off curbside delivery and limited the amount of catering orders we will accept. This was done to help reduce the stress on our team."
Brad Johnson, the location's operator, spoke to CBS News about the worker shortages facing his Chick-fil-A restaurant and many others. He explained that his restaurant has seen far fewer individuals applying for jobs. Additionally, when they have hired new workers, they have accepted the offer "only to resign within their first couple weeks." Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A isn't the only fast-food chain that has been dealing with a series of issues amid the ongoing pandemic.
According to Nick Bunker, an economic research director at Indeed, these issues are plaguing the leisure and hospitality sector as a whole. "Compared to pre-pandemic times, [the sector is] having a hard time turning job openings into hires, and employers in the industry are having a hard time retaining the workers they already have," Bunker told CBS MoneyWatch. "Employers now have this two-sided problem, having a relatively hard time bringing folks on and having to deal with holding on to people that they do have."