WACO, Texas — Restaurants have dealt with almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite trying to adapt, many say they're still struggling.
Reanna Fornash is a server at Kim's Diner and she told 25 News they've been running at about half staff since reopening after the lockdowns.
"We'll have people come and apply, but then never show up," Fornash said. "So the staffing shortage is a shortage, but also like people just not wanting to work."
Staff shortages have been the root of many issues, but now there are also food shortages and much-needed items on backorder.
"We've been out of tater tots this week, small to-go boxes, we don't have to-go cups," Fornash said. "We're out of a lot of stuff."
While this has been a challenge for locally owned businesses, chain restaurants like On The Border are also feeling the effects.
"We've had a lot of food we couldn't get in like avocados and just basic stuff that you'd be able to get from the store we haven't been able to order it," On The Border server Carmen Garcia said. "It's just hard because people come in here and want a certain product, but we don't have it because of COVID or it's on backorder."
With a new strain of COVID making its way across the country, there's some concern that customers will once again not be comfortable eating out.
Servers encourage people to continue to support their local businesses during this time.
"Coming to support a small business and keeping them up is a great thing to do," Fornash said.
"We really appreciate people coming in and being understanding," Garcia said. "It makes things a lot easier and makes us want to serve you better."