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Staffing shortage forces popular restaurant to offer temporary ‘carry-out only’

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- The labor shortage in our area is forcing owners of a local restaurant to go to carry out only for the next week.

"Today we had four people to run the restaurant, and that's just not enough," said Anita Bourounis of Cosmos Restaurant on Lima Road.

She and other managers at the restaurant made the tough decision to close in-person dining and do carry-out only beginning Saturday.

They hope to reopen the dining room nine days later.

Servers say it would be great to have some help.

"Right now we need bodies. We just need bodies, you know? And we're just stretched super, super thin. 90 restaurants in Fort Wayne right now are currently hiring," Bourounis said.

That's why she's having walk-ins fill out applications and is offering interviews on the spot.

Server Heather Mascho says it would be great to have some help.

"It's rough because it puts a lot of pressure on all of the workers here. Everybody's trying to do everything," she said.

Bourounis says college or high school students who worked as summer help are now back in class, and with potential COVID exposures at schools, parents typically working at the restaurant are having to stay home with their kids.

"We take so much pride in our customer service that we aren't willing to make our customers suffer and be below the expectations that we normally can give," Bourounis said.

Mascho says she doesn't fault managers for making the tough call to offer carry-out only for the next week or so.

"I know they're doing what they have to do for the best of the business right now. It's going to be hard for everybody but what can we do about it, you know?" Mascho said.

Bourounis says servers, hosts and bussers will be able to work to process carry-out orders and payments, and be offered shifts at other locations that will continue to operate as usual.

She says the restaurant's regular customers have already told her they'll order carry out next week.

Bourounis hopes the Lima Road Cosmos will be able to reopen for in-person dining before September 6.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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