EDITORIAL | Penn State Should Increase Restaurant Wages To Address Staff Shortages | Editorials | Reviews | Daily college student
In order to deal with recent staff shortages, Penn State Dining has announced that it is temporarily changing the hours and availability of certain restaurants on campus starting October 16.
According to Jim Richard, Director of Residential Catering, the timing adjustments were made in order to maintain the “variety and high quality foods our customers expect” while trying to “minimize disruption”.
South Food District at Redifer Commons will operate Monday through Friday and opened In A Pickle, a deli restaurant, on October 25. Students wishing to participate in the “All You Care To Eat” brunch have been advised to go to the Pollock Dining Commons.
The North Food District will also close on Saturdays, but the North Market Convenience Store will remain open during regular weekend hours from 9 a.m. to midnight.
While it may be an inconvenience for students to have to walk further to get a meal, workers shouldn’t have to deal with the influx of students from other dining halls when they are understaffed. .
Customer service is an already demanding industry, but associated with classes and extracurricular activities, workers may find they are worth more than what they are paid for.
On-campus dining positions pay $ 12 an hour, with $ 2 for employee meals and “flexible scheduling,” while also having the opportunity for promotions. $ 12 an hour is obviously an increase from the Pennsylvania minimum wage of $ 7.25, but given the amount of work demanded of Campus Dining employees, that number may not be enough to grab the attention of locals. new workers.
If Penn State isn’t willing to pay employees more, it shouldn’t come as a shock if they don’t want to work. Staff shortages should be the telltale sign of a broken system.
For the amount of tuition fees at Penn State – the tuition fees that are now increased – as well as other expenses such as housing and groceries, the current pay scale is unsustainable. There is no reason why the university cannot devote more resources to food and beverage services and increase the salary to $ 15 an hour.
It’s not just a student employee problem, as many full-time employees try to make a living from these positions. The cost of living at State College is far from affordable, with the average affordable monthly cost of an apartment in the area standing at $ 603.
As a perspective, if full-time employees are paid $ 12 an hour, they would have to work 12 hours a day, four days a week just to pay their rent – with no other expenses included. If they work a typical five-day schedule, they should still be working 10 hours a day.
This demand is even less imaginable for a full-time student taking classes in addition to participating in extracurricular opportunities.
Even something as simple as free employee meals could act as an incentive to bring in workers.
If pay isn’t the problem, then maybe customers are. While everyone can be in a rush to get their food, there is no reason to have an attitude towards employees who are just trying to make ends meet.
On the contrary, the pandemic may have made employees realize their worth, and after being indoors for most of the last year, they may want to make up for what they missed, especially for students. third and fourth years. For them, a job on campus might not matter.
But some don’t have the luxury. And because of that, it’s imperative that Penn State make the pay respectable and create an environment that will welcome those looking for work.
This burden should not be placed on management, as these efforts show that they are trying to make the most of the staff shortage. However, trying to avoid “disruption” has now become a nuisance to other dining rooms as the queues start to grow, forcing the already reduced staff to accept more customers than normal.
These days, there’s also an emphasis on mental health, something Penn State often preaches. Middle school is the usual time when people aged 18-21 develop eating disorders, with 10-20% female and 4-10% male. A closed buffet could contribute to a student’s confusion as they may see it as a reason to avoid a meal. The university should do everything possible to fill the positions in order to avoid any potential situation that fuels a negative mentality.
It’s not just a Penn State or college issue, as job vacancies in the United States have reached an all-time high of 10.9 million. So, if Penn State and other companies are to fill these vacancies as quickly as possible, they must begin to empower their employees by increasing their pay.
Daily Collegian Opinion Editor-in-Chief Joe Eckstein can be reached at [email protected]