One of Lafayette's favorite pizza restaurants has been hit or miss lately due to staffing issues.

It's an issue that many businesses have been dealing with for quite some time now, and it seems to have gotten worse coming out of the pandemic. While being short-staffed is a problem that isn't necessarily exclusive to one particular type of business, it seems like the restaurant and food industry bore the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even before the shutdowns, recruitment was one of the major hurdles that the restaurant industry faced as younger workers (24 and under) continue to move away from food service jobs.

To put it plainly, what used to be a hotspot for workers in this age demographic has dwindled below the 50% mark for younger workers seeking employment. And we haven't even begun to talk about issues like retention, lack of motivation, compensation, and how the digital age is influencing the workforce as a whole.

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While the restaurant and food industry has been navigating all of these factors for years, it is finally started to affect consumers. For instance, BJ's Pizza is a local eatery with roots that run deep in Lafayette—but fans of the local pizzeria may have been met with disappointment as staffing issues have forced them to close down early on some days as of late.

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After a local Facebook user was faced with the disappointment that BJ's was closed down early, he posted photos of the signs on the front door prompting reactions from other social media users who weighed in on the situation.

The restaurant usually closes at 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but on this particular evening they were closing an hour early due to a "staff shortage."

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Almost immediately, people blamed the issue on the "lazy society" narrative—the notion that "no one wants to work anymore."

The owner and I have spoken about this many times. Can’t find good help these days, no one wants to work! I feel for this next generation!

Another person suggested that those who could be working at BJ's Pizza have opted to stay home and collect a check from the government instead.

Those that truly need help have to fight for years, while those perfectly able and capable sit home collecting checks.😡😡😡😡

Someone else echoed a previous comment about the owner complaining that he couldn't find "good help."

A good friend of mine owns this place. He’s been struggling to find workers. This generation wants everything for free and doesn’t want to do the work. The government is subsidizing laziness. It’s sad.

While many put the blame on those who simply don't want to work for their wages, there were a few commenters who pointed out the pay isn't competitive enough in comparison to similar jobs in the restaurant and food industry.

sadly he is not paying a wage that is consistent with the market conditions. Many of small businesses are not and it is sad but some people voted in the current administration and it just cost more now to live

One commenter revealed that she looked into picking up work with BJ's but changed her mind when she realized pay for delivery was only $8 an hour.

Delivery is 8 an hr they don't pay so that's why. I asked them the other night bc I was gonna help them out them they said that I said oh no lol

Another person compared the wages that were allegedly being offered at BJ's to other eateries.

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They suggested that the money is simply not enough considering how people value their time—especially when it comes to their bills.

Maybe if these places would raise the pay to $10+ an hour. For example Panda Express is hiring starting at $11 an hour. What's the point of getting a job if you still can't pay your bills and then you have to add gas to and from work and that alone is probably $6-8 a day... most people in these types of establishments make fairly that per hour.

Someone said they can barely afford their bills making double that proposed salary.

I make almost double that…I live in a trailer park…I don’t have a car note….and I still can barely afford my bills. $10/hr won’t cut it anymore.

Another factor that was brought up multiple times was the fact that people are tired of having to deal with the unpredictable behavior from the general public.

It’s almost as though people got tired of being treated like garbage by entitled customers who quit tipping…for crap pay. 💁🏻‍♀️
So many remote jobs paying better and you don’t have to deal with the public. Win win win. Guess we will just have to start cooking our own food.

Someone else said workers who were told to find a better job if they didn't like the treatment did just that.

The reality is, people treat service industry workers like trash. Case in point. Nobody OWES you service because that’s where you like to go in your free time lol. People come down on service industry folks and tell them if they wanna make more money, find a different job…so they did

Other commenters pointed out new employment options that offer better pay, flexibility, and the ability to work from home.

WFH jobs are on the rise and so is entrepreneurship. People are also finding other means of making money without having to be on someone’s payroll. And unless you have a PASSION for servicing people in the food or retail industries, who wants to do that when they could sit on their ass and do reports all day? Or do something they’re actually passionate about? I’m in retail management and we are suffering the same as local, no one wants to work if they can find an easier means and many of these workers are high school and college students. Food and clothes are not career jobs unless you have a passion for what you do and that’s from experience

One person placed blame on the community, as people tend to get upset when they see a beloved restaurant going through tough times, but often haven't patronized that local business in years.

To me, I think the issue comes to the community. The community that “loves” these places will bitch about price increases and go to the next cheapest spot. It comes down to the owners are at their bottom dollar, can’t employ people because the margins are so bad. They can’t offer pay worth a shit compared to unemployment. This is why I moved to Colorado to open my restaurant. No one likes to pay when “I remember when this slice was 89cents” comes up or “I remember when this plate lunch was $3” people can’t make a living at those prices and the community won’t pay the increase. It’s plain and simple. It really is. And it’s sad…

One of the most liked comments came from someone who said that we need to stop blaming everything else but the obvious issue.

It’s a workers market these days. Sadly many restaurants build on the ability to pay low and let customers pick up the slack. These days that’s just not working. The current generation of bar and restaurant owners needs to learn to pay more while minimizing cost and maintaining quality. Long story short it’s not enough to be able to open a business anymore you have to be adept at hiring and maintaining a staff while at the same time managing inventory and quality during a time where cost has skyrocketed. What does that mean? Many places will close but those that figure it out will come out of it all the stronger

After many agreed with his point, he made a very valid comparison between his career in the service industry many years ago compared to the present-day environment.

It’s the truth. Bartenders, waiters and waitresses have bitched about shit wages and lack of perks for years but stuck with it because the cash incentive of nightly tips kept us holding on. These days tips are at a minimum, shady owners are trying to take a cut or make them split with more staff than they should, and honestly it’s easy to find work that requires a minimum of effort to make the same or better money. It’s time owners and managers stop blaming people for not wanting to work and start questioning what they can be doing to create an environment where people do want to work for them. It probably means sacrificing things on their end but if will keep the ship afloat.

Regardless of the debate, people shared their love for BJ's and hope to see them figure it out sooner than later.

This place has my heart….and makes me sad too…

Dive into the post here as people shared great memories in addition to the hot takes surrounding this ongoing issue and give us your take on this.

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