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Short-Staffed Restaurants' Solution? 14-Year-Olds

With adult workers scarce, they're turning to young teens
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2021 3:06 PM CDT
Short-Staffed Restaurants' Solution? 14-Year-Olds
A man works on a McDonald's restaurant sign with a job listing for a custodian paying up to 15 dollars an hour in Bucksport, Maine, on Monday, August 16, 2021.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

(Newser) – With fast food restaurants across America short of workers—some switched jobs while on furlough; others are reluctant to return during the latest COVID wave—many are trying to attract employees who were too young to work when the pandemic began. A sign reading "Do you have a 14 or 15-year-old? Do they need a job?? We will hire them" was spotted at an Ohio Burger King earlier this year; a McDonald's in Medford, Oregon, recently hung a large banner outside inviting 14- and 15-year-olds to apply, Insider reports.

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"There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of," the operator of that McDonald's tells Insider. Heather Coleman says the situation is a new one for the family, which has run McDonald's franchises for 40 years. The young workers have been "a blessing in disguise," Coleman says. "They have the drive and work ethic, they get the technology. They catch on really quickly." She says welcoming them worked: It resulted in about 25 applications over two weeks.

A recent study from restaurant data provider Black Box Intelligence and jobs marketplace Snagajob found that turnover rates for limited-service restaurant jobs hit an all-time high of 144% this year, USA Today reports. Researchers say restaurant workers are being lured away by jobs with better pay and more consistent schedule, especially those in building and garden supplies stores. (Read more fast food industry stories.)

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