‘We held on as long as we could’: Another restaurant dragged down by labor shortage

"This is the last thing we wanted to do," said Duffy’s Bar & Grill in Osseo when announcing the decision to cut its hours.

Duffy's Bar & Grill/Facebook

Another Minnesota restaurant made the difficult decision to cut hours and menu items after experiencing firsthand the labor shortage that has taken down several restaurants and bars in the state.

“This is the last thing we wanted to do,” Duffy’s Bar & Grill in Osseo said in an announcement on Facebook in the middle of August.

Due to the “extreme labor shortage” in Minnesota, Duffy’s announced “very temporary changes”: since the announcement, the restaurant has been closed on Mondays, with the kitchen closing every night at 9 p.m. and about half of the menu options being available.

Duffy’s said the changes are due entirely to not being fully staffed.

“We have amazing people working in our kitchen, and it would be unfair to them to continue to ask them to work [over six-day] weeks or 11 days in a row,” reads a Facebook post announcing the changes.

Duffy’s hopes the labor shortage will improve in September when the federal unemployment benefits run out.

“We held on as long as we could,” the post says.

A top comment on the post suggests that employers should pay more than the government’s “pittiance [sic] for wages.”

“Thank you so much for your super-educated insight,” Duffy’s replied to the commenter. “1. Learn how to spell pittance. 2. Know what you are talking about. 3. Let me know your step-by-step plan to combat this multi-industry issue.”

No updated hours or changes have been made since the August 13 announcement.

Duffy’s joins a growing list of restaurants closing or cutting hours due to the labor shortage.

Republicans argue the reason for the mass of job openings not being filled is continued unemployment benefits: those on unemployment can receive $300 per week in federal benefits, plus state benefits depending on their residency. For many, this is more convenient than going back to work.

As of a few months ago, almost 40% of small businesses in the U.S. had closed since COVID-19 began. The leisure and hospitality industry, including bars and restaurants, saw a 52.4% decrease, according to economics outlet Opportunity Insights.