Myrtle Beach area restaurant workers see rise in rude customers, face understaffing issues

Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) – The worker shortage has led to long waits at restaurants and in some cases, customers are taking out their anger on employees.

One worker tells News13 a customer physically harrassed her last weekend. The restaurant has a new warning for customers.

“A customer, as I was walking past her table, grabbed my arm and pulled me to the table and requested her free pork skins,” said Wendy Shank, who is a disabled veteran. For the past year and a half, she’s worked at Pop Pop’s Pit BBQ.

As tourism returns to normal, many restaurants have had trouble finding enough workers. Shank said she works multiple positions at one time to make sure her customers get the best service possible.

“We try really, really hard to be nice to everybody and to actually have somebody physically grab me and pull me into them to try to get my attention was completely unnecessary,” Shank said.

Jospeh Fuqua has owned the restaurant for seven years. The abuse by customers has gotten so bad that his employees now read an agreement to each customer. They’ll get a warning the first time they’re rude. If they’re abusive again, they’ll be asked to pay the bill, take their food to go, and leave.

“We are going to be kind to you and treat you with respect, we deserve the same because my servers, my staff, we are getting negative feedback when it is not warranted on anything we have done,” Fuqua said.

He’s asking other restaurants to give the same warning when dealing with a rude customer.

“We are honored. We really are, that you choose to come and spend your money here, but come in with a good attitude. Come in expecting to have a good time,” Fuqua said.

The owner said he’s trying to hire more people.

Congressman Tom Rice says he is trying to fix the unemployment issue by co-sponsoring a bill that would incentivize people to work by giving them a bonus of $1,200 if they are on unemployment and take a full-time job and $600 if they take a part-time job.

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