Richards Restaurant in Warsaw survived the pandemic but falls victim to the national labor crisis.
The steady, quiet staple that’s had a presence along US 30 in Warsaw for at least four decades is closing Thursday, May 13.
There were no signs on the front door announcing the closure Friday mid-morning, and business was brisk with waitresses overseeing at least a dozen tables.
Manager Lisa McCoy said the problem is simple. She can’t hire enough people to operate the store seven days a week, including evenings.
She said it takes about 20-25 employees to fully operate a store. They had to discontinue evening hours recently and were down to 13 employees on Friday.
McCoy has been with Richards for about eight years and became manager three years ago.
Even as the restaurant industry revs up and gains traction as COVID-19 cases decline, many restaurants are struggling to find workers. As a result, restaurants have been forced to make changes that some find hard to see unfolding.
McCoy suspects those who might normally be working are instead choosing to draw unemployment, which for some, is more than what they would make in the workforce. She said she knows people who are doing it.
Her complaint – that another new round of extra relief has become a disincentive for workers – is one that’s gaining national attention and a popular grievance being aired on Facebook.
She said she heard earlier in the day that one state was going to cut off the additional aid and hinted that she hoped other governors would consider it.
Richards has been in its location near the Stock + Field store for some 25 years, having moved from an earlier location near Anchorage Road and US 30.
Richards has 14 stores in northeast Indiana, according to the company website.
Working shorthanded has been tough on management, who are often left to fill vacancies in the daily schedule.
With holes in the schedule, McCoy has had to take on extra roles and hours, working food prep in the morning, lunch-hour cook, dishwasher and problem solver.
After the store closes Thursday, McCoy said she’ll work at the Richards in Columbia City for a short while before taking a much-needed break.