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Local Links: Staffing shortage affects popular pupusa restaurant

Restaurant Fernanda's in Cathedral City is having to close its doors one day out of the week because of a national staffing shortage.

Several restaurants and businesses are facing the same staffing crisis as the pandemic lingers. Now many of them are being forced to close their doors once again. However, this time it's only for days at a time because there aren't enough people applying for work.

Restaurant Fernanda's popular pupusas, which are made from a special family recipe passed down generations, are still bringing customers through the door, but not enough people to help keep the restaurant running.

The pandemic has brought in a whirlwind of struggles for this family-owned restaurant.

Manager and the restaurant owner's daughter, Kristina Fernanda-Morales, said at the start of the pandemic it was really hard to keep up with the ever-changing mandates restaurants had to follow.

“We were really struggling and working endlessly it seems like.” Fernanda-Morales described.

But that didn't stop the local family-owned restaurant from getting its popular pupusas to its customers. While the number of customers dining in decreased, the number of take-out orders increased.

Just when things started to get better, the restaurant began experiencing a staffing shortage. The number of employees has decreased by more than half since the start of the pandemic. This ultimately began putting a strain on the employees who continue to work.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like too many people have the motivation to want to work," said Fernanda-Morales. "Which I feel like is a big issue for a lot of places. So it's basically just us doing doubles and covering for one another. But after a while, it does get a little tiring.”

Now Restaurant Fernandas is having to close its doors on Mondays to not overwork its employees.

Lately, the restaurant has found solace in an unexpected way. That's with their customers choosing to give back during this time of need.

Currently, there is a ticket wall that helps give someone who needs it a hot meal made from the restaurant.

The initiative has been successful through the holidays, so the restaurant is keeping it around in hopes they'll eventually find the light at the end of the tunnel.

The restaurant is located at 34351 Date Palm Dr, Cathedral City, CA 92234.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a new reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.

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