Florida Southern faces understaffing issues

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Photo by Sophia Gonzalez

Jameson Champion

Students at FSC this semester have noticed longer waits at some of FSC’s on-campus food venues. Signs have appeared at Tutu’s Cyber Cafe requesting students be patient with longer waits, due to understaffing on campus.

The understaffing issue on campus was recently addressed at FSC’s November Town Hall. At Town Hall, Director of Food Services Tim Raible spoke about some of the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our food services on campus.

Raible notes that this is not a problem exclusive to FSC. The food service industry, even at other colleges, has been dealt a heavy blow by the pandemic.

“With the [COVID-19] pandemic everybody left the industry,” Raible said. “It’s not just an FSC issue, this is a national problem.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been attributed with a massive shift in the foodservice industry. 

In August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 892,000 hospitality workers quit their jobs, or nearly 7 percent of the employees in food service. This is a move which has left around 10.2 percent of jobs in food service vacant.

This phenomenon is not exclusive to the food service industry either. These resignations are part of a larger phenomenom during the COVID-19 pandemic referred to as “The Great Resignation” by news outlets. 

The BLS reported not only that 7 percent of hospitality workers have left their jobs, but also that 2.9 percent of the entire American workforce also quit their jobs in August, roughly 4.3 million workers.

These issues may seem to have suddenly come this semester, however, short-staffing problems have been happening since the start of the pandemic. 

Raible notes that the school has had staffing problems ever since the 2020-2021 school year. 

However, due to the school operating with a limited number of in-person students there were fewer issues at venues.

One of the issues the school also faces with understaffing is the question of whether to keep all of the campus venues open despite their lack of employees. Raible says that while other colleges have had to resort to shutting down some of their on-campus venues, FSC has worked to keep all establishments open at the cost of them being short of staff.

“We’ve tried our hardest to keep our food places open during the pandemic,” Raible said. “We even opened a new venue [Fresh Twist] this year despite our staffing issues.”

Other issues that have affected FSC’s food venues include their suppliers. 

Raible claims that they’ve had many issues with vendors keeping their items in stock. The school has been forced to accept deliveries with fewer supplies because the issue has spanned across most suppliers.

“Hardest to keep in stock are individually wrapped plastic and paper goods,” Raible said. “We looked and found a new source for our cups but even now they’ve started having issues.”

FSC has already attempted a few methods to attempt to keep food available despite shortages in staff.

“We started moving more towards kiosks like the Publix ones we just opened to give later availability to food on campus.” Raible said.

Raible also notes that the school is attempting to alleviate the issues with new recruitment strategies for food workers.

Some students have already taken notice of these measures.

“The lines seem to be really short in the caf,” senior Nathan Hallmark said. “In fact I’ve noticed that in the caf [Wynee’s Bistro] they’ve hired like 3 new people.”

“I’m just happy our school is understanding with these issues,” Raible said. “Our students have been very patient despite the waits.”

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