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Wilson's in Findlay closes dine-in area, open for drive-thru only citing worker shortage

Then ongoing pandemic has closed Wilson's indoor dining area again. This time, owners say it's due to the growing restaurant labor shortage.

FINDLAY, Ohio — A Findlay landmark for decades, Wilson's Sandwich Shop, is best known for its burgers and frosted malts. Right now, however, the dining area sits empty.

Owner Doug Baker made the decision last weekend to close up the shop's dine-in area, operating only by drive-thru. The halt in dine-in service isn't directly due to COVID-19 restrictions, Baker said, but rather the restaurant labor shortage.

The restaurant usually averages 10 workers per shift, but recently has had only five or six people on the clock at a time.

"You know, then they're stuck standing there waiting because we've only got one grill open and it's just too much for everybody," Baker said. "The five or six people we have a day are just killing themselves just trying to get everything done."

But judging from Monday's long line of cars for lunch, it seems Wilson's loyal fan base was quick to adapt.

One customer, Amber Wolfrom, didn't even bring her car - she just stood in line herself.

"Businesses are going to do what they have to do in order to stay in business. So, we're all adapting to a new normal, and this is what Wilson's has to do today, and it's not going to stop me from getting burgers," she said.

Credit: Jon Monk
Wilson's averages about 10 workers per shift, but recently have seen only 5 or 6 per shift

Baker said he may eventually set up a call-in carryout option if the dine-in closure lasts too long, but he said he's confident workers will fulfill every customer craving with the drive-thru if need be.

"We get so many drive-thru customers anyway. This will stay like this lined up until 8 o'clock at night when we close," Baker said.

There is no current timetable for when Wilson's will be reopening their indoor dining area. But Baker said that financially, Wilson's should be able to remain open and operating at the limited drive-thru only capacity until that time comes.

Credit: Jon Monk
Wilson's owners say they will operate only their drive thru until they are able to be fully staffed