Salad bars are opening back up across the country, but at Metcalfe’s Market the self-service station at one of its three Wisconsin stores remains closed. The culprit isn’t pandemic restrictions, but rather the labor shortage that’s frustrating retailers across the U.S.

“I can guarantee you that our customers want our salad bar,” said Tim Metcalfe, co-owner and president of the grocery store. “They want a self-serve option for hot foods. Metcalfe’s is not providing that.”

The current worker shortage, driven nationwide by a host of factors including childcare concerns and competition from reopening restaurants, continues a staffing challenge that stretches back years for Metcalfe’s. Fewer people have been looking for work, and the increased benefits during the pandemic from the federal and local governments have encouraged unemployment, Metcalfe said.

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