BYU Dining begins to recover from staffing shortages


By Alexa Larson

Businesses all over the world are still seeing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fall Semester has been back in session for well over a month now, but this week marks the first week of the semester that all restaurants were open in the Cougareat.

If you’ve been on campus, you’ve probably noticed that many of the popular restaurants have been closed or that the vending machines are missing your favorite snacks.

“We’ve had times in years past where a single store might have been closed at the very beginning of the school year, sometimes two, but that would be a couple days. This is the first time ever that we’ve had whole operations not open for weeks into the semester,” said Joe Tiapson, director of retail operations and technology.

This is due to the lack of staff and can be traced all the way back to March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.

“We were the ones that lost patrons in the very beginning, where people didn’t feel comfortable eating in restaurants or going out. We lost our workforce then,” Managing Director of BYU Dining Services Dean Wright said.

The pandemic and the changes to daily life that have come along with it have had an impact on how many students feel about taking on new jobs.

Royal Weakley, administrator of the BYU Student Employee Success Office, says that statistically, around 50% of BYU’s student staff are freshman. But this year, the number of freshman students taking jobs on campus is less than what it has been in the past.

“We’re hearing some of them say, ‘I just want to make sure everything is okay for the semester and I’m going to be okay with my classes,'” said Weakley.

“A lot of students are having their first in-person in class experience right now and like Royal said, I think a lot are just simply saying, ‘Wait a minute, I want to make sure I have the full academic experience. I want to have the full collegiate experience,'” Wright said.

I think we’re all hoping that things can continue to get more and more back to normal here on campus.

According to Career Cloud, Utah ranks 5th in the nation for the highest rate of job openings per unemployed person and it has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country.

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