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Like many restaurants coming out of the pandemic, Ursinus’s Cafe 2020 has struggled to maintain a steady workforce– and in turn, this staffing shortage has affected the speed of service. One Cafe 2020 staff member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “We had similar staffing issues last year so [speed of service] has been a constant problem.” To combat employee shortages, the Cafe has resorted to hiring temp chefs, or interim employees to fill in and speed up the pace of service. Robin Reindeau, Cafe 2020’s supervisor, said, “We are currently working through, training and hiring full-time chefs, but in the meantime we are using the resources and people that we have.”
Running the cafe with supplementary temp chefs has also proved itself a challenge for Reindeau and other Cafe 2020 employees. When asked about temp worker’s effectiveness, the anonymous staff member said, “They’re doing well, but because they’re temping, their likelihood of leaving is higher – and then we have [to hire] a whole new person who has to relearn everything.” They also explained, “The constant switch-up of the chefs makes their efficiency go down which causes the food to take longer, and customers get antsy.”
Students’ reactions to slower wait times haven’t been reported as hostile, unlike the instances of viral videos of Starbucks customer freakouts. The anonymous staff member said, “During busy hours, there tends to be a handful of people that come up and inquire about how long their food takes.” But it doesn’t go beyond that, and the cafe’s supervisor, Reindeau has been thankful for students’ understanding. She said “We appreciate any patience and if you have any issues you need resolved, bring it up and we’ll be doing our best to fix it.”
But it doesn’t go beyond that, and the cafe’s supervisor, Reindeau has been thankful for students’ understanding. She said “We appreciate any patience and if you have any issues you need resolved, bring it up and we’ll be doing our best to fix it.”
As Cafe 2020 continues to fight the uphill battle of national staffing shortages, students can expect to keep being patient. The frequent turnover of employees and the hiring of new, untrained staff members could mean that making your panini or steaming your latte takes a little longer. This also means that Cafe 2020 is actively hiring, and you can apply on HandShake, the school’s job recruitment platform, using this link. The anonymous staff member interviewed for this article, said “The conditions [at Cafe 2020] are great. Everything is super flexible, and all the workers are kind and respectable.” If you have time in your schedule, consider applying, but until staffing numbers can return to pre-pandemic levels (which they may never do), continue to expect longer wait times for things like lattes and paninis. Restaurants everywhere are doing more with less, and Cafe 2020 is no exception. This may be temporary or it may be the new normal, but only time will tell, as examined in the microcosm that is Ursinus’s Cafe 2020.