A Wisconsin pizza restaurant that’s been operating for 64 years is closing down due to the labor shortage

A pizza restaurant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is closing its doors after 64 years because it is struggling to recruit workers due to the labor shortage.

Steve Lawler told local newspaper the Oshkosh Northwestern that he was 12 years old when he started working at Red’s Pizza & Catering, a family business.

“It’s been very good to our family, and I’m gonna miss it,” he said. “You get to know all your customers in this business and their families. They’ve become like family, so it’s tough,” he told the outlet.

The restaurant’s closing date will be September 26. He’s unsure at this stage whether he will continue the catering side of the business.

Lawler said finding staff for Red’s Pizza & Catering has proven to be a difficult task in recent years due to the combined effects of the pandemic and the labor shortage.

“It’s been very difficult finding help, and it’s gotten to the point where we just can’t staff the restaurant part of it,” Lawler told the outlet.

He added: “I wanted to hang around for a couple more years yet, but it just isn’t in the cards.”

Lawler’s struggle is shared by many other business owners in the hospitality industry who are having difficulty finding workers.

Ray Sykes, who owns the Italian restaurant Arabellas in Winter Haven, told The Ledger he had to hire workers still at high school who have very little experience, or in some cases, none at all.

Recently, a BBQ restaurant called Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que in Winter Park, Florida, shut down after its workforce fell to just four people, Insider’s Grace Dean reported.

In the case of Red’s Pizza & Catering, Lawler said he tried adjusting the restaurant’s hours. This included closing one day a week to give his workers time off, since most of them worked every weekend. But it wasn’t enough to save the restaurant.

Lawler hopes to sell the business, which his father founded in 1957, to keep its name alive.

*story by Business Insider