Staffing shortage forces Longstrees restaurant in Alexandria to cut hours
Effectively immediately, lunch services are temporarily suspended.
Due to staffing shortages, Longtrees Woodfire Grill is temporarily suspending its lunch services.
Abby Rakun, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Chef Mike Rakun, said that after a busy first week, they simply do not have the staff in place to “provide first-rate service and top-notch food” for both lunch and dinner.
She said effective immediately, the restaurant will open at 3 p.m. for happy hour and dinner services will begin at 4:30 p.m.
“This is not a choice any business wants to make, however it is the right choice in order to do what we set out to do, and that is to provide quality food and service,” Abby Rakun said in a news release sent out Thursday afternoon. “We’ve trained an amazing staff and they are doing everything they can to offer prompt, knowledgeable, above and beyond service, but the reality is that we just don’t have enough employees to fulfill our initial operating hours and have found hiring more people to be a major challenge.”
"This is not a choice any business wants to make, however it is the right choice in order to do what we set out to do, and that is to provide quality food and service.” ."
— Abby Rakun
Rakun said their struggle to find adequate staff is not a unique one. She said the restaurant and hospitality industries are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant and bar industry lost 5.5 million jobs from March 2020 through April 2021, and as those jobs are returning, the workforce simply isn’t there.
Federal unemployment benefits are keeping workers home and financial need or uncertainty has forced many hospitality workers out of the industry, Rakun said, adding that this is a nationwide struggle for restaurants and bars.
“All we can do is make the best of the staff we do have,” she said. “While we would love to be able to say with certainty when we will be bringing lunch back, at this time we will just be focusing our energies on making sure our dinner offerings are the best they can be. We appreciate the public’s support, patience and understanding as we get through this uncomfortable and difficult period.”