Drivers on East Main Avenue are probably seeing an unusual site: No traffic backing out into the street from the Big Boy drive-thru lane.
“Unfortunately, Big Boy will not be able to open for business today. We do not have enough employees,” Big Boy CEO Chad Wachter said in a social media post Monday morning. “I will provide an update and more comprehensive statement late today. I just wanted to get the message out since we usually open at 10:30 am.”
Later Monday, Wachter expanded on his reasons for closing today.
“Due to the fact that a number of people were unable to come to work today, management had to make the difficult decision not to open for business,” Wachter wrote. “The restaurant needs eight employees per shift to run, so having substantially fewer than that, we would not be able to fulfill our customer’s service expectations.”
Wachter noted that the Bismarck Big Boy is not closing down. He said, as far as he can tell, this is only the second time in 68 years that Big Boy had to close.
Wachter said Bismarck Big Boy, just like other restaurants and businesses, is dealing with labor shortages in the local market.
“We are trying hard to build a work culture, as well as wages and benefits, based on what employees are looking for. We know not everyone is motivated by money alone.”
In general, North Dakota restaurants are having a hard time hiring workers, forcing some businesses to limit their hours, close on certain days, or shut down altogether.
In August, McKenzie River Pizza shut down due to a shortage of employees.
In September, Johnny Carino’s also closed it doors.