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Some Starbucks sites cut hours, limit seating as Burger King reports weaker sales due to Omicron
Starbucks Corp. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. are again closing dining -rooms or shortening hours as Burger King restaurant operator Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., Shake Shack Inc., and Denny’s Corp also report weaker sales due to the spread of Omicron.
Labor shortages forced restaurants such as Starbucks Corp. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. to temporarily limit operations at individual stores or regions as more of their staff are testing positive for the coronavirus in the Omicron surge.
Korean fried-chicken chain Bonchon Franchise LLC. closed its flagship Manhattan store for four days recently after several of their staff tested positive, said its CEO, Flynn Decker.
The Omicron variant is bringing back some practices and uncertainty from the early days of the pandemic from the resumption of virtual learning at schools to flight cancelations.
Many diners couldn’t figure out whether local restaurants and cafes will be open, prompting them to order food instead.
Starbucks and other restaurants have learned how to operate through the pandemic and have invested in the infrastructure to revert to delivery, drive-through, or takeout as needed.
Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said their decision to reduce hours, make temporary restaurant closures, and let office workers work from home is expected to hurt their sales in its current quarter.
Irvine-based Kura Sushi USA Inc., a 35-unit chain, was also forced to limit seating or operating hours at some of its restaurants, complicating its operations.
Kura CEO Hajime "Jimmy” Uba told investors that limiting dining rooms had a meaningful impact on their sales.
Restaurant analytics firm Black Box Intelligence reported that US restaurant sales declined in the week ended Dec. 26 compared with the same period pre-pandemic, the first weekly decrease since last March.