Local Businesses Experience A Lack Of Employees Over The Last Few Months


Zachariah Gunby and Turner Brown

Gardner has been experiencing a lack of employees in their local businesses within the past few months. 

“We are always understaffed,” McDonald’s employee Hatton Smith said.

As of recently businesses in Gardner have increasing wages for new employees in a way to get more workers. Sonic has increased their wages for new cooks from $12 to $15 and also have posted that they need 15 carhops.

“I was paid $8.50 and now I’m paid $10 an hour,” Trails Cafe employee Savannah Schutkesting said.

We got a bonus when Covid was really bad and we had to sign something saying we will work during it and listen to the protocols.

— Hatton Smith

Savannah has only been working at Trails Cafe for 3 months and has been given a $1.50 raise. Others have also been given large raises in a short amount of time so that companies can attract new employees or to persuade their current employees not to leave for higher-paying jobs.

“We got a bonus when Covid was really bad and we had to sign something saying we will work during it and listen to the protocols,” Smith said.

Some businesses have worked on implicating Covid restrictions to help workers come back to a more safe environment. 

“They (O’Rileys) did imply some pretty strict covid rules in terms of masks and making sure that stuff was taken care of,” O’Reilly Auto Parts employee Parker Morley said.

A lot of the work is very simple and easy for some workers such as Byce Lathrope, who works at the Taco Bell/KFC.

“I wrap tacos, so if someone orders tacos I wrap the tacos and put them in the bag,” Lathrop said.

Lathrop isn’t the only student who has noticed the high wage for easy jobs. 

“My main job is to help people who come in looking for parts, so I’m generally at the counter. There is times where we slow down during the day or in the evening that I will have to put freight away, which is our stock, or every now again I will go do our small inventory, which is called a cycle count, to make sure our stuff is correct,” Morley said.

Businesses have also been experiencing reductions in customer capacities and items on the menu when the shortage of employees was at its highest.

“Once the pandemic started, like everything was closed down and like when everything started opening again, we didn’t have too many employees,” Taco Bell/KFC employee Cia Fulks said. “We were extremely understaffed.”

For anyone looking for jobs, the library put together a Padlet where students could see some of the local places currently hiring. You can access the job board here.