RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Long wait times, customer notices and workers calling out sick because of COVID-19 exposure.

“Normally, we would see about 500-600 guests on a Saturday morning,” Abby Dearlove said, the manager of Tupelo Honey Cafe.

But not on this New Year’s Day.

“We’ve got about 50-percent of that, so (we’re) down (close) to 300,” she said.

That’s because of staffing issues.

Dearlove and her staff put a sign on the front of the restaurant letting people know they’re scaling back how many people they can serve at one time, and asking them to be patient. 

“We’re already struggling to get people hired and people even to even apply,” Dearlove said.

Now, it’s getting worse, she said.

“We’re having the issues of servers and team members getting sick and not able to come into their shift,” she said. “It’s a double whammy.”

It’s something that a lot of restaurants across Raleigh are dealing with.

“We definitely are not staffed the way we need to be to be able to run the restaurant,” Kimsley Crews said, the Assistant Manager of the Flying Biscuit Cafe. “We’re all running food, we’re all cleaning tables.”

Even though there were empty seats inside, there was still a 45-minute wait at 9:30 a.m. 

They were too short-staffed to handle more at the time. 

“We’ve got a lot of people missing today. We’re (also) missing a few people in the kitchen as well,” Crews said.

Crews is asking all customers, at all restaurants, to be patient, because everyone is doing their best under current circumstances.