Local family-owned restaurant chain cuts hours despite crowds

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Posted at 4:25 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 08:07:40-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Pelon’s Baja Grill has three locations in Hampton Roads: Ghent in Norfolk, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and their newest restaurant in Red Mill.

Though they’re grateful to have many customers, they’ve decided to cut the operating hours due to lack of staffing.

“Before the pandemic started, we were open every single day of the week. We did make a decision to close on Mondays just to give our staff a little bit of a relief,” explained Tori Foster, General Manager of the Red Mill grill. “But recently, we decided to close on Tuesdays and then also shorten our hours on the weekends, closing that breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.”

It was a tough decision, especially since their Ghent location had one of its busiest months ever in March.

“Because without additional staffing in here, we’re going to end up running our employees, our family ragged,” Foster said. “That’s just not the quality of life we want our employees to go through.”

Management hopes the change is temporary. They are hiring part-time and full-time workers.

Foster said they’re getting applications, but many are not showing up to the interviews. She’s not certain, but she feels the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits could be a factor.

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Just this week, the Virginia Employment Commission announced that soon, they will once again require those collecting unemployment to show proof of their weekly job search.

Pelon’s Baja Grill is hiring looking to fill various positions including staff to directly interact with customers as well as kitchen help. That’s at all three locations. Foster says the pay is competitive and they prefer 18 years and older but might hire someone younger if they have experience.

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