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Possible short, long-term solutions to restaurant COVID-19 problems

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:41 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The pandemic has created long-term changes for the restaurant industry. That’s according to a University of Alabama professor who says some of them might be here to stay.

People could not eat together because of coronavirus restrictions at the start of the pandemic. Now, many restaurants don’t have enough workers to provide the services we’re accustomed to.

“I think a lot of people have been really struggling with family members and friends that have been directly affected by COVID. So, it’s taken a mental as well as a psychological toll,” Dr. Kimberly Severt said.

Severt is director of hospitality management with the University of Alabama. She said while traditional dine-in restaurants are struggling to stay open, restaurants must be creative to find employees willing to work, make a profit and reevaluate what consumers were needing and how to meet that need.

“I think in the future we’re going to see more technology being used to really counteract the lack of human workers shortage that we’re experiencing. You’re going to see more robotics, you’re going to see more technology that really kind of eliminates the work that may not be as desirable for many people,” Severt continued.

Restaurants will continue to employee people. Severt said they’re finding workers in places not considered before, like work release programs.

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