You might want to check ahead of time to make sure your favorite neighborhood McDonald’s and Starbucks are open before going on your routine run for a Big Mac and an oat milk vanilla latte (everyone has this routine, right?). Omicron has come for our beloved chains, which are reducing hours nationwide.
Eat This, Not That reports that the move is a direct response to a lack of workers as Omicron continues to spread, perpetuating the great staffing shortage we’ve seen throughout the entire pandemic. For example, because McDonald’s can’t keep restaurants staffed enough to stay open full time, the chain is focusing on cutting hours, now operating at 10% fewer hours at locations across the country. The hours of operation are ultimately up to the owners of each franchise, so it will vary from location to location.
McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski also says that he’s hoping this will help with the restaurant’s speed of service, which has been affected by the labor shortage. (Some locations previously tried to combat the staffing issue by lowering the minimum age for its workers.)
At Starbucks, there may be even bigger changes in the coming weeks. “With the rapid spread of the omicron variant, we’ve all been forced to adapt again,” the company wrote in an email sent to customers on January 14. “Your Starbucks Experience may look different each time as we navigate this dynamic situation in each of our communities… You may notice some stores will have shortened hours, that some products may be unavailable, or that mobile order and pay is temporarily turned off at your store.”
Starbucks has faced a lot of challenges throughout the pandemic with keeping key ingredients stocked and keeping workers happy. The store is at least cutting its loyal customers some slack, delaying the expiration date of points earned through the Starbucks Reward program until April 1.
If two of the biggest chains in the country are starting to cut back, it’s likely only a matter of time before other beloved spots follow suit, so be sure to keep an eye out for changing hours everywhere.