A California taco restaurant posted a sign blaming government handouts for slow service and a staff shortage

A California taco restaurant posted a sign blaming government handouts for slow service and a staff shortage
A "Help Wanted" sign hangs in the window of a restaurant in a Manhattan restaurant. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
  • A California taco restaurant blamed a staff shortage and slow service on "state handouts."
  • Some businesses are blaming workers and government handouts for the labor shortage.
  • Others say the solution is simply to pay workers more.

A taqueria in California posted a sign in its window blaming government handouts for a staff shortage, and asked customers to be patient with slow service.

"Sadly, due to government and state handouts no one wants to work anymore. Therefore, we are short-staffed," the sign at Taco Loco restaurant in Folsom, California said, per CBS Sacramento.

"Please be patient with our staff that did choose to come to work today."

Insider reached out to the restaurant for comment but didn't immediately hear back.

Since the beginning of the year, unemployed workers in the US have been able to claim $300 a week in benefits as part of a COVID-19 relief package. While some states have since cut this, California said it would continue to offer unemployment benefits through September 4.


Signs of this sort have become more common across the US. Business owners grappling with an ongoing labor shortage are starting to blame worker "laziness," or government handouts, for these employment gaps. Insider's Aine Cain saw this firsthand when she took a trip across the East Coast.

The labor shortage has reached crisis point in the US. Job openings rose to a record high of 9.3 million in April, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey - and business owners are scrambling to fill the gaps.

Read more: Experts say these 7 retail tech companies are set to boom as the labor shortage forces retailers to automate and innovate their way out of a crisis

The pandemic has given some workers time to reflect and consider new careers. Others are "rage quitting" in the hunt for better jobs with higher pay and better working conditions.

But workers say there's one easy way to fix this crisis: pay us more.


Michael Lastoria, CEO of &pizza restaurant chain, told Insider's Zahra Tayeb that his 51 locations were fully staffed, and the secret to his success was paying workers proper wages. He offers a $16-an-hour wage, plus benefits.

"The idea that wages couldn't possibly rise even once over the past 12 years while prices went up, while inflation went up, and while the cost of living went up, has resulted in the 'shortage' [business owners] are experiencing today," he said, adding: "There isn't a labor shortage, there is a shortage of business owners willing to pay a living wage."

If you're a retail worker or business owner with a story to share please contact this reporter at mhanbury@insider.com.