Dining centers struggle to find employees for new semester

Rialto and Piazza have had to adjust procedures in order to compensate for lack of employees. Some changes include disposable dish ware and dine-out only from 7-9pm.

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, News Editor

Across the nation restaurants and service industries are desperate for workers after COVID-19 vaccinations rolled out and businesses started opening at full capacity. Piazza and Rialto, the two main dining centers on UNI’s campus, are among the food services industries struggling to find workers.

As a result of their employee shortage, the dining centers have had to make adjustments to compensate for lack of workers. Annie Karr, the assistant director of marketing for the Department of Residence acknowledges the challenges they have faced with the employment shortage. 

“At UNI, we are currently working with less than half of the staff we typically employ, this includes both full-time and student staff,” Karr said. “In an effort to prioritize service and food options, we needed to make changes to our operation, one of which was the use of disposable dishware.”

Dining centers are utilizing styrofoam plates, bowls and paper plates – a change from the usual glassware provided for students. Late night dinner hours from 7-9 p.m. have also been changed dine out options only. 

“In order to maintain our continuous, expanded hours, we moved late-night service to to-go only, which allows us to remain open and provide meal service despite fewer employees,” Karr said.

In a change from last year, food is now completely self-serve for students in both dining centers. 

“The ability to provide more self-serve options affords us the capacity to offer a larger variety of food choices than would have been available if staff were needed to serve,” Karr said.

Karr praises current dining staff for their hard work, and encourages anyone interested in working for dining services at UNI to apply. 

“We have amazing dining staff that are committed to providing great service regardless of challenging times, and it’s apparent in how hard they work every day,” Karr said. “They are great to work with, and many of our former dining student employees have been commenting on social media about what a great experience they had working in dining. We recently increased our student wages; we hope this will attract additional employees.”