With a double whammy of surging omicron cases and continued labor shortages, several major restaurant chains are cutting back on hours and services to deal with the challenges, including Starbucks, and Chipotle.
In an email sent to customers last weekend, Starbucks told guests that their Starbucks experience “might look a little different these days,” as certain locations are experiencing reduced hours, product shortages and/or temporary halts on mobile pay capabilities, as more workers call in sick.
As compensation for these service disturbances, the company said it would be postponing Starbucks Rewards members’ stars until April 1.
"You have our commitment to make the situation right," the company said in the email obtained by USA Today. "We will always make proactive decisions that prioritize the health and well-being of our customers and our partners […] These decisions are made on a store-by-store and market-by-market basis.”
Starbucks is not the only chain experiencing issues. In an October earnings call, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski warned that shortened hours may be coming due to staffing shortages.
“It is putting some pressure on things like operating hours, where we might be dialing back late night for example from what we would ordinarily be doing,” he said at the time, adding that lack of staff is also putting pressure on speed of service.
In an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal, Kempczinski said that they are cutting back store hours by 10% on average at 13,000 out of nearly 40,000 restaurants as they navigate workforce shortages and inflation.
Other companies are feeling the labor crunch too, like Chipotle and Shake Shack.
"No one is immune to it," Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti told investors at a recent conference, referring to worker shortages impacting guest services.
In an NRN interview with Chipotle CEO Scott Boatwright in October, the Chipotle executive said that they have been throttling delivery orders when staffing situations get tough, though at the time said it had not impacted hours quite yet. Nation’s Restaurant News reached out to Chipotle for a comment on current hours of operation.
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