Starbucks Is Having A Major Staffing Shortage Again

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to disrupt life throughout the country, and its effect on the restaurant industry has been felt particularly hard. Even major players in the food and beverage space, like Starbucks, are susceptible to staffing shortages as employees get sick or exposed to the virus and have to take time off. Throughout the pandemic, Starbucks has changed its hours at various locations to due to a lack of workers. As USA Today reports, that may be happening again this month.

In a statement shared with USA Today, a Starbucks spokesperson explained that staffing shortages can result in some product unavailability, limited shop hours, and a potential pause on orders made in and paid for through the app. These updates are made based on each store's individual staffing levels and may or may not affect your local Starbucks. In an effort "to make the situation right," the coffee chain announced that it will delay the expiration of its members' star rewards until April 1.

Restaurants everywhere are feeling the effects of staffing shortages

Starbucks is one of many food and beverage companies that have altered their business hours due to staffing difficulties during the recent pandemic surge. McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski told The Wall Street Journal that while operating hour decisions are made on a restaurant-by-restaurant basis, as is done at Starbucks, U.S. McDonald's locations have cut their hours by a collective 10%. Additionally, CNBC reported that Chipotle now allows restaurants operating below their usual staffing levels to concentrate on in-store purchases only, disabling the acceptance of digital orders when the store gets busy.

How do restaurant employees themselves feel about staffing shortages? Some took to Reddit to explain what's going on at their restaurants, and things aren't looking good. One user reported limited hours due to infection rates, writing, "Half our staff, BOH & FOH has COVID. Need to close for lunch this week and only open for dinner." Another Redditor expressed frustration over needing to close their restaurant. "We lost 3 of our 5 sous chefs to Covid the week before Christmas and had to shut down. I was honestly hoping we'd be nearing the end of this," they wrote.