The Collegian
Monday, November 29, 2021

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On-campus dining locations encounter staff shortages

The sign outside of the Heilman Dining Center.
The sign outside of the Heilman Dining Center.

Dining and retail locations on the University of Richmond campus are experiencing staff shortages.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created labor shortages in many sectors, including in food services,” Cynthia Price, associate vice president of media and public relations, wrote in a Sept. 29 email to The Collegian. “College dining programs, including at the University of Richmond, have also been impacted.” 

There are many open positions in on-campus dining services, Price wrote.

8:15 at Boatwright is one campus dining location facing a labor shortage, junior and barista Ally Zambri said. 

Zambri's manager sends a schedule to employees weekly that includes multiple days with missing shifts, she said. Zambri also frequently receives emails throughout the week asking employees for last-minute help at the café when there are few workers on a shift, she said.

“It’s a constant, always needing people [at 8:15 at Boatwright],” she said. 

When shifts are left uncovered by student employees, there are days when only the two managers work at 8:15 at Boatwright, Zambri said. 

The shortage of employees at 8:15 at Boatwright is also affecting its normal operations. 

On Sept. 28, employees posted a sign on a cash register informing patrons that they could only order to 8:15 at Boatwright via the Grubhub app or Grubhub kiosk outside the café, as opposed to paying in person. 

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A sign on the register at 8:15 at Boatwright. 

The Cellar, UR's only full on-campus restaurant, announced it would open only on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. because of a need for more dining staff at the Heilman Dining Center, according to a Sept. 29 Collegian article

Earlier this semester, The Cellar was open every day of the week aside from Mondays and Tuesdays, junior and Cellar employee Simone Reid said. 

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Reid, who was a cashier and cook at The Cellar, noted that the restaurant had previously struggled to find employees on Friday and Saturday nights, but that The Cellar did not have issues with staffing. 

The only students that are able to keep their jobs at the Cellar are those who already worked on Wednesday, Reid said. 

Other universities are encountering similar staffing shortages within dining services. 

Vanderbilt University has experienced campus dining employee shortages for the fall 2021 semester, which has altered normal dining operations, according to a Sept. 14 article in the Vanderbilt Hustler

The University of Northern Iowa also made adjustments to its dining operations in response to a labor shortage for the fall semester, according to a Sept. 2 article in the Northern Iowan

UR offers flexible hours and a variety of options for student workers, Executive Director of Dining Services Terry Baker said, but she recognized that students were focused on their studies and outside activities. 

“Despite our challenges, we are continuing to support the needs of our community through our operations,” Baker said. 

Dining Services is determinedly marketing for the open full- and part-time student positions that are currently available, Baker said. 

Contact news writer Caitlin O'Hare at caitlin.ohare@richmond.edu.

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