Citing staff exhaustion and “crisis”, Alabama Chick-fil-A stores close dining rooms
Some Alabama Chick-fil-A stores have informed customers that they are closing their dining rooms, citing exhaustion caused by a staff crisis. One of them said that “our team cannot continue at the rate at which we are”.
Stories of restaurants limiting days and hours, or making brief temporary closures, became commonplace this summer, and difficulty hiring and retaining staff was often mentioned as a factor. Dave’s Pizza in Homewood recently gained attention with a social media call saying “We will literally hire anyone.” While COVID-19 may be partly to blame, a tight job market is also a problem: Unemployment in Alabama was down to 3.2% in July, approaching the all-time low of 2.7% set just before the pandemic.
Even so, the recently released statements from several Alabama Chick-fil-A stores stand out. The chain is known for its strong customer service, and its business has been strong during the pandemic. But stores say staff shortages have caused them to close their dining rooms.
The stores in question include Chick-fil-A Calera on Ala. 304; Chick-fil-A McCalla, a store in the Tannehill Promenade shopping center in Bessemer; and Chick-fil-A Madison, on US 72 west of Huntsville.
“You may have noticed that we have closed our dining room, turned off curbside delivery and limited the number of catering orders we will accept,” said a statement released on Friday by the Calera store, which closed its store. dining room at the end of July. “This was done to help reduce stress on our team. We have some of the best team members in the world. They work hard every day, but they are tired and stressed. We have grown tremendously, but we need to add to our list. “
“We, along with many other businesses, both locally and nationally, are in the midst of a personnel crisis,” a post on the McCalla restaurant’s Facebook page said on Saturday. “As we enter the busiest time of the year for our restaurant, which is September to December, and with the return of high school and college students and the soccer / holiday season quickly approaching , we are not able to schedule enough team members. to provide the excellent service our customers deserve.
“The restaurant industry has suffered a great loss since the start of 2020 and we are not immune to this loss. We are grateful for the support we have received from our loyal community throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, ”the message continued. “We are very grateful, but our team cannot continue at the rate at which we are. Our team members are exhausted and there is no relief for them on our list. “
Restaurant Madison posted a similar post on its Facebook page on Saturday, but added a few more details about the hiring challenge.
“We are doing everything we can to hire more team members,” he said in a statement attributed to operator Norman Dull. “We see a lot fewer job applicants or people who don’t show up for their interviews. The restaurant industry has suffered from a hiring prospect during the pandemic, and sadly Chick-fil-A is not immune to this labor shortage. “
Calera’s statement listed some of the same issues, adding that he struggled with new hires “to take a job only to quit in their first two weeks.”
Madison’s statement concluded, “PS…. if you know someone who wants a quick job, Sundays off, a fun work environment and a chance to grow as a team member ……. ask them to call us.
The McCalla store dining room, which reopened on July 20, will close again on Monday August 23. The store will continue to operate its drive-thru and will continue to offer curbside pickup. The Madison store will maintain drive-thru but will suspend mobile curbside orders and mobile deliveries.
Some other stores, notably in Dothan, Spanish Fort and Daphne, had closed dining rooms in late July, citing the increase in COVID-19 cases. Some, like Chick-fil-A Vestavia Hills, cited a mix of COVID concerns and staff shortages.