Starbucks, Dairy Queen Workers about quitting their jobs

  • The restaurant and restaurant industry is particularly hard hit by the persistent shortage of labor.
  • Insider spoke to 3 workers about why they quit their jobs in the food industry this year.
  • They said they felt overworked, stressed and more often abused by customers.

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Millions of Americans have quit their jobs in recent months, but few fields have seen the level of revenue that currently plagues the service industry. In fact, restaurant and hotel employees are quitting their jobs at a rate that is more than twice as high as the record-high national average. Low wages and increasingly poor customer behavior are among the reasons people mention for leaving.

From a recent graduate to a mother of two who worked in the industry for 15 years, Insider spoke with three former restaurant employees about why they quit. Here’s what they had to say.

These following as-told-to-essays are based on conversations with each topic about their career. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Tom Mangione, 24, Cincinnati, Ohio

Tom Mangione Judy Brumley

Mangione says the work as a shift supervisor at Starbucks became overwhelming during the pandemic.

Tom Mangione


I was on duty supervisor at Starbucks for a year before leaving in June. In addition to barista duties, I was key holder, handled store orders – delivery and receipt – and acted as manager when the store manager was unavailable. My colleagues and direct supervisor were all lovely people, but we did not feel supported by the company.

Our hours were reduced when COVID hit, but the store was no less busy. We just had fewer employees, which contributed to burnout and a lot of revenue. People who had been in the business for several years resigned, often without notice, and customers complained about things that employees in the store could not change.

We also had to deal with a lot of supply chain issues – we were constantly running out of products, but the company refused to cut back on the menu to ensure availability. One day my shop only had ostedanish for food; no breakfast sandwich, no other pastries. Customers were furious, but why shouldn’t they be? Starbucks markets itself as a restaurant.

I believe that low wages, reduced working hours and the expectation that verbal abuse from customers will be tolerated have made restaurant jobs, especially customer-facing positions, more difficult than ever. Providing good customer service while trying to work fast enough to achieve business goals becomes more difficult.

Now I work for a smaller franchise and I do not see the same burnout here because our bosses are quick to address the kind of pain points that Starbucks could not acknowledge. Most people I know, who worked at Starbucks full time, have traveled to other coffee jobs. Since I am happy in my new position, I plan to stay in the coffee world until I graduate with my master’s degrees. I hope the current crisis can inspire restaurants and employers to value their workers more in the future, and that’s great.

Editor’s note: In an email to Insider, a spokesman for Starbucks said it “works quickly and closely with our suppliers in the supply chain to rebuild goods” that have been affected by supply chain shortages, adding that employees ” be encouraged to recommend alternative items if a customer’s favorite is sold out. ” The email also highlighted the company’s announcement in October that it would raise salaries for part-time employees who have worked at Starbucks for at least two years, hire more recruiters and trainers, and improve staffing planning.

Dana Gurry, 32, Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania

Dana Gurry Judy Brumley

Gurry says she felt overworked and underpaid as a store manager at Dairy Queen.

Dana Gurry


My entire career has been in the food and beverage industry, from working at sit-down restaurants to bartending. Most recently, I was store manager at Dairy Queen, where I have worked to and from for almost 14 years. Earlier this month, I decided to write my notice after many years of feeling overworked and underpaid.

As a manager, I was responsible for opening the store, which often involved a deep cleaning if it had been cluttered the night before. When the store opened, I would help take orders and cook in the kitchen in addition to making the following week’s schedule, calculating hours for pay, making furniture so I could order supplies and decorate cakes.

Over the years, I saw the restaurant change for the worse. When I started, the store was impeccably clean and every employee did their job. Eventually it got to the point where everything was dirty and I was exhausted as I tried to get everything done while other employees just hung out. There were no consequences for those who showed up late or not at all.

I think people in this industry feel overworked, underpaid and abused by their employers. It is also degrading and mentally exhausting to deal with countless rude customers who do not treat you like a human being. Stopping was an encouraging choice because of how severely the job affected my mental health and general well-being.

I am so lucky to be married to a wonderful man who has supported me during this time. Personally, I would prefer not to return to the industry because I do not see it changing right now. Restaurants need to offer better pay and incentives for all the hard work their employees do day in and day out.

Editor’s Note: In an email response to Insider, a DQ spokesman said “All DQ restaurants in Pennsylvania are owned by independent franchise owners. All matters of employee relations are managed between the franchisee’s owner and their employees.”

Kilee Hutchings, 30, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Kilee Hutchings.

Hutchings spent over a decade working in the service industry before retiring this year.

Kilee Hutchings.


I have spent the last 15 years in restaurants. I was an employee of a well-known chain for more than two years before I filed my resignation here in August. Before the pandemic, we had full-time employees, many of whom had been there for years. Our schedules were pretty relaxed: We got in at 6 p.m. 16 and left around kl. 23.00

The business picked up speed after the initial shutdown, but many of our employees did not return. People were constantly shouting and I asked others to come in to work before I even arrived at the restaurant. It turned out to be difficult to find new staff and the guests were less and less understanding as we ran out of ingredients.

I worked longer to close shifts from 6 p.m. 15.00 to 12.30, which meant that I hardly saw my two children in primary school. My husband also works out of town for a few weeks each month, so we paid more than $ 500 a week to have a nanny look after our children while we worked.

My company was one of the better restaurants to work for in 2020. They took care of us by paying hourly paid staff during the shutdown, giving managers bonuses and never cutting back on pay. But the job became more and more stressful, and I knew I was not the wife, mother, and person I wanted to be.

I ended up giving more than three months notice because I felt so loyal to the company. I’m lucky my husband’s salary gave me some flexibility. I’ve had a YouTube channel for almost 10 years and other social media that I make money on, in addition to a year old small business making charcuterie records for events and weddings. Monetaryly, I still earn as much as I did with a salary, just with less stress and more family time.

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