SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Cheesesteak Factory in Surfside Beach has struggled with staffing for the past two years, but after their recent Facebook post, they are seeing an uptick in applicants.
The post reads, “We are closing at 4 p.m. today due to exhaustion and disappointment in humanity. Help wanted. Great hours, awesome food, cool people and good money in exchange for good work. Apply in person.”
The post was inspired by a series of unfortunate events at the local restaurant.
“We had another issue with a long term staff member that had to leave, unfortunately,” owner Dustin Cornish said. “And it was just like a domino effect of bad things happening.”
A mere 18 hours after it was posted, the restaurant was already seeing traction.
“We’ve got four or five different folks online that have, you know, we want to come in,” Cornish said. “And then just this morning we had a young lady come in.”
Cornish said that since the pandemic, the business has been able to steadily recover, but finding help has been a struggle.
“We had a few core staff members that stuck with me through the pandemic,” Cornish said. “Now just trying to find help has just been impossible.”
He said he believes part of the reason it has been so difficult to find employees is because of the fatigue that comes with working in the food industry.
Chattan Johnson is a server at The Hangout at Broadway at the Beach. He said that working in the food industry in a tourist city is a non-stop job.
“It’s pretty much like, go, go, go the entire shift,” Johnson said. “The constant movement and serving and mental work of tending to the guests, making sure you’re not making mistakes, making sure you’ve got things remembered.”
The days are so jam-packed, there is often not enough time for a break.
“Most shifts I find myself not really going up to the break room,” Johnson said. “Some shifts, I don’t go to the bathroom until all the guests are gone. I just don’t have the time.”
He said the demands of the job easily lead to exhaustion.
“It’s really hard work and can be really thankless work,” Johnson said. “Everyone in the restaurant is really, really exhausted.”
He said one of the worst parts about working in Myrtle Beach in particular is the heat and humidity.
“If you’re serving food outside, the heat’s debilitating, the heat is crazy here,” Johnson said “At the end of a shift, I’m drenched in sweat from head to toe.”
He said the heat has even driven people away from working at the restaurant.
“Throughout my short time working there, there have been many occasions where we had some people experience heat exhaustion and start to have hot flashes and couldn’t keep going,” Johnson said.
At the Cheesesteak Factory, they understand that servers are dealing with this reality.
“I treat my staff with respect,” Cornish said. “They do make a decent wage here. If you want to get those good quality people, you have to pay them.”