Archive for Zahra Tayeb

A restaurant owner is paying his teen workers to do their homework before their shifts, in an attempt to retain them during the labor shortage

A waitress cleans a glass
Hospitality businesses have been hit hard by the labor shortage.
  • An Arkansas restaurant owner is paying his young teen workers to do their homework, KARK reported.
  • The move aims to retain workers amid a nationwide labor shortage in the US.
  • Many business owners have been recruiting minors as a way to tackle the problem.

An Arkansas restaurant owner is giving his student employees an extra hour's pay to allow them time to do their homework.

The move to retain workers at Xplore Lakeside in Hot Springs Village comes amid the fallout from the ongoing labor shortage.

Owner Greg Jones told KARK, a local news outlet, that its restaurant group is down to about 20 employees and staff have tried everything they can to garner more applications.

"We've tried employee referrals, thousands of dollars of online ads and newspapers," he told the outlet. But nothing seemed to work.

A tight labor market has left many business owners struggling to hire workers. As an alternative, franchisees, including those at McDonald's and Burger King have begun employing teenagers as young as 14 to fill vacant positions.

Some workers in the retail and restaurant sector who lost jobs during the pandemic have since found new roles elsewhere, or don't want to go back because they've been put off by demanding customers and low pay.

Back in Arkansas, Jones said he too hires many student workers. He told KARK that with more hours added to their schedule, students said it had became difficult to juggle both work and school.

So his executive chef came up with an idea he hoped would encourage more of his employees to stay and also attract new ones.

"I said 'How about I make you a deal, you guys can sit upstairs for an hour before your shift starts on the clock, do your schoolwork, I'll feed you and then when you're done with your hour you can come downstairs'," the chef told KARK.

He added that the new strategy has already helped the restaurant retain two student employees.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
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A restaurant owner mistook a teenager’s Lego gun for a real weapon, sparking a major police operation, reports say

Officers rushed to the scene in southern Germany.
  • A teenager carrying a Lego gun sparked a large-scale police operation, Reuters reported.
  • A restaurant owner mistook the toy for a real weapon and called for emergency assistance.
  • The event occurred in the southern German town of Lindau.

A restaurant owner in Germany mistook a boy's Lego gun for a real weapon, sparking a large-scale police response, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, authorities were called to the scene after the boy, who was dressed in a camouflage outfit, was spotted running nearby and holding what was thought to be a rifle.

The incident took place in the southern German town of Lindau. "Of course, we had to go immediately," an officer from the Lindau police force told a German news outlet, per Reuters.

Reuters reported that several patrol cars, as well as federal police, rushed to confront the unnamed teenager, only to find the gun was made from Lego bricks.

He has now been charged, according to Austrian news agency APA.

Earlier this year, Lego asked a gun company to stop producing a product that looked like its toys, AP reported. Lego said in a statement at the time that the Utah-based company had agreed to remove the product from its website and not sell anything similar in the future.

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Washington State Ferries, the country’s largest ferry system, temporarily reduces trips on 70% of routes because of severe staffing shortages

A passenger on a Washington state ferry with the Space Needle behind him
Friday was a "rough service day" for Washington State Ferries, with trips cancelled on most routes.
  • Washington State Ferries said it cut trips on 70% of its routes amid staffing shortages.
  • About 140 sailings were canceled on Friday, The Seattle Times reported.
  • The service said on Twitter that Friday had been "a rough service day due to lack of crew."

Washington State Ferries (WSF) on Friday cut the number of ferries or trips on 70% of its routes because of staffing shortages.

The agency said it was forced to reduce service and cancel about 140 trips, The Seattle Times reported. Other trips were delayed in "a rough service day due to lack of crew," WSF said on Twitter.

About 202 of almost 1,600 total WSF staff were out on vacation, family leave, and medical appointments, the Times reported, adding that another 28 people were out sick on Friday.

WSF did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

WSF said on Twitter that it expected reduced service for the next few days. It said it would be hard "to predict what weekend service will look like."

A WSF spokesperson told the Times that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find available employees to fill open shifts.

"This is due to many variables including an ageing workforce, pre-pandemic worldwide maritime industry recruitment challenges and vacancies, COVID-19 quarantines and isolation, and leave related to the anticipated departure of staff in key positions required to run the fleet," WSF said on Twitter.

WSF managers expect reduced service for the next few days.

The agency has struggled with crew shortages since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Times reported in September. At least 87 ferry workers were infected with COVID-19 and 400 have had to quarantine after potential exposure, reports said.

On Friday, WSF said routes from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and to Bremerton each dropped to one boat, half the usual number. The Point Defiance-Tahlequah route was canceled most of Friday, but planned to resume at 6.30 p.m., WSF said.

"Like other Washingtonians, I am concerned with the lack of crewing on our state ferry vessels and the subsequent missed sailings," Governor Jay Inslee said in an email to the Times.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
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California judge throws out a lawsuit against Subway, which accused the chain of using fake tuna in its sandwiches

tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomato on wrapper paper
Subway's tuna sandwiches have come under intense scrutiny.
  • A lawsuit alleging that Subway mislabeled its tuna has been dismissed by a judge, per reports.
  • A California court found the claimants did not meet a legal standard to sue the sandwich giant.
  • Subway called the suit, which was filed earlier this year, "reckless and improper."

A federal judge in California dismissed a case against Subway on Thursday, which had been brought by consumers who alleged that the tuna used in its sandwiches was not authentic.

Judge Jon S. Tigar, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said he read the complaint and struggled to find any reliance claims, Bloomberg reported.

The lawsuit, which accused Subway of mislabeling the contents of its tuna sandwiches, made headlines when it was filed earlier this year.

Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, the plaintiffs, filed a class-action complaint against Subway in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It claimed that "independent testing repeatedly affirmed" Subway made the tuna product with no actual tuna fish, but did not identify the agencies that conducted such tests, Insider's Allana Akhtar reported.

The suit also alleged that Subway profited from mislabeling the tuna products by using cheaper ingredients. "The products are made from a mixture of various concoctions," the suit claimed.

Subway defended itself from the claims, saying they were "meritless."

In a previous statement to Insider, Subway said: "Tuna is one of our most popular sandwiches. Our restaurants receive 100% wild-caught tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve on a freshly made sandwich to our guests."

The Washington Post reported that the judge's dismissal was not based on any findings about the content of the tuna, but instead centered on the fact that the plaintiffs didn't meet a legal standard to sue.

"To meet the heightened pleading standard, plaintiffs still need to describe the specific statements they saw and relied upon, when they saw the statements, and where the statements appeared. Because they fail to do so, the complaint does not satisfy the ... standard," Tigar said in his ruling.

Subway did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Subway said. "We commend the court for dismissing the reckless and improper lawsuit surrounding Subway's tuna."

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New York couple ditch their $15,000 wedding and splash out on four honeymoons instead

The couple traveled to Hawaii and three other destinations.

A woman from New York said she and her partner decided to scrap their plans for an expensive wedding and spend the money on four honeymoons instead.

Yulia Thomas, a luxury travel advisor based in New York City, discussed her decision via TikTok, explaining how she had initially planned to spend $15,000 on the wedding.

Newsweek first reported the story.

Thomas hailed the decision as their "best ever." Her video, which she posted under the handle "luxexperiences," has garnered over 2 million views so far.

"It became so stressful, expensive, our families were pulling us in different directions," Thomas wrote in the video. "I didn't want to entertain guests and didn't care for the wedding dress," she added.

Then, nine months before their wedding date, she and her then-fiance woke up one morning and decided to abandon their grand plans and get married that same day, with hardly any guests present.

"We called two of our best friends, I ran to the store and bought a $50 white dress and we were married three hours later," she said.

The couple took the money they would have otherwise spent on their wedding and paid for four honeymoons instead. They enjoyed trips to Greece, Italy, Hawaii, and Morocco.

In contrast to Thomas, many people are still choosing to splash out on their upcoming weddings, as Insider's Mary Hanbury reported in August.

Couples that were determined to save money at the height of the pandemic are now spending up to $200,000 for their 2022 nuptials, according to a wedding planner. Previously, the planner's clients spent about $100,000 on average, the report added.

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Carnival posts $2.8 billion loss in third quarter after the Delta variant hit summer cruise sales

Carnival Cruise Ship
The average Carnival ship was only 59% full in August, the company said.
  • Carnival Corp recorded a $2.8 billion loss in the third quarter of this year, AP reported.
  • The company said sales were knocked this summer due to the impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
  • Shares rose on Friday, however, after the company expects soaring demand for next year.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Carnival Corp, the world's biggest cruise line, recorded a $2.8 billion loss in the third quarter of this year as concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19 impacted sales.

Associated Press reported that shares rose 3% on Friday, however, after the cruise line operator said bookings for the second half of next year are running ahead of 2019 levels.

The average ship was only 59% full in August, Carnival told AP. That was an improvement from 39% in June.

The cruise industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors following the huge disruption caused by the pandemic. Former and current cruise employees recently told Insider how they had to reckon with loneliness, fear, and uncertainty while being stuck in mandatory quarantines.

AP reported that the big three cruise companies in the US did not receive the same kind of federal relief that was allotted to airlines.

But the future for Carnival looks more assured, thanks to pent-up demand for cruises. In July, it said advance bookings for 2022 were already higher than in 2019, Insider's Grace Dean reported.

"We reported a significant loss, so we haven't recovered yet, obviously, but as we look ahead we see brighter days," Carnival CEO Arnold Donald told AP. "If things continue to trend the way they are (with COVID-19 cases), we should see positive cash flow as we get our fleet sailing broadly again."

People are spending a lot of money on board, too. The company told AP that while there were fewer passengers on board this summer, they spent 20% more onboard than before the pandemic.

According to Donald, the fact that people haven't been able to cruise, or travel at all, could be behind the increased spending. "So they are in a mood to spend more because they haven't had a chance to in a while," he said.

Eight of Carnival's nine cruise lines have resumed sailing with reduced schedules, AP reported. The company said it anticipated its full fleet to be operating by spring 2022.

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Flight attendant reportedly tells passengers she will ‘be annoying’ towards them if they do not wear a mask

Flight attendant coffee
Mask mandates and other pandemic rules remain in force on US airlines.
  • An unidentified flight attendant was reportedly featured in a viral clip about mask mandates.
  • The clip claims to feature the voice of an attendant who vowed to annoy passengers without masks.
  • It has so far gained more than 2.9 million views on TikTok, Yahoo News reported.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

An airline passenger reportedly recorded a flight attendant pledging to annoy passengers who had not put their face masks on.

Yahoo News reported that TikTok user Tyler Janee posted a video in which an unidentified female crew member bluntly explained the airline's policy. Neither the airline nor the flight attendant were visible in the clip.

Since being posted last week, the video has racked up millions of views and sparked a social-media debate about travel etiquette.

Insider has reached out to Janee for comment.

In the clip, a woman's voice can be heard saying: "We see you without your face coverings. I know it's a 46-minute flight, you all look tired - we already established that - so you might fall asleep. If that face covering is not on your face properly, I will wake you up and I do not care, OK?"

The user then shows Janee's eyes widen as a reaction to the speech.

The video continues with the apparent crew member saying: "I will be annoying. We don't have to be annoying but I will be."

It ends with her explaining that there were COVID tests available onboard - and that she would swab passengers if necessary.

One TikTok commenter wrote in praise of the woman: "Give that flight attendant a raise !!!!!"

Airline mask mandates have been a hot topic of discussion lately. Some passengers have refused to wear them and families have been kicked off flights because they struggled to get their toddlers to wear one.

In July, an American Airlines passenger was arrested in New Orleans after refusing to wear a mask. After being removed, the woman could be heard screaming for approximately 10 minutes on the gangway.

Separately, a mother said that a flight attendant told her to glue a mask to her toddler's face, according to reports. She said she has since received an apology.

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‘Grease’ actor Eddie Deezen accused of causing a disturbance at a Maryland restaurant and throwing plates at police during his arrest

eddie deezen
Eddie Deezen.
  • "Grease" actor Eddie Deezen was arrested after reportedly refusing to leave a Maryland restaurant.
  • Deezen was accused of hiding behind a woman in a booth when police arrived, TMZ reported.
  • He was also alleged to have thrown objects at police during the incident on Thursday.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

"Grease" actor Eddie Deezen was arrested after refusing to leave a restaurant in LaVale, Maryland, TMZ reported.

Deezen, who played Eugene Felsnic in the original "Grease" movies, was accused of causing a scene at the unnamed restaurant on Thursday, according to the outlet.

TMZ cited a police report, which said Deezen, 64, also apparently hid behind a woman in a booth and refused orders to leave the restaurant.

According to TMZ, he threw several items at officers - including plates, bowls, and food. Eventually, Deezen was forcibly removed from the restaurant and sent to jail, the outlet added.

Maryland State Police did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

He has been charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and trespassing, TMZ reported.

Earlier this year, the actor was accused of harassing a waitress over her appearance, according to TMZ.

Following that accusation, Deezen claimed on social media that he was being cyberbullied by her. His lawyer reportedly later told the outlet that Deezen felt terrible that the waitress was offended by his comments.

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A Wisconsin pizza restaurant that’s been operating for 64 years is closing down due to the labor shortage

A pizzeria is the latest casualty of the labor shortage.

A pizza restaurant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is closing its doors after 64 years because it is struggling to recruit workers due to the labor shortage.

Steve Lawler told local newspaper the Oshkosh Northwestern that he was 12 years old when he started working at Red's Pizza & Catering, a family business.

"It's been very good to our family, and I'm gonna miss it," he said. "You get to know all your customers in this business and their families. They've become like family, so it's tough," he told the outlet.

The restaurant's closing date will be September 26. He's unsure at this stage whether he will continue the catering side of the business.

Lawler said finding staff for Red's Pizza & Catering has proven to be a difficult task in recent years due to the combined effects of the pandemic and the labor shortage.

"It's been very difficult finding help, and it's gotten to the point where we just can't staff the restaurant part of it," Lawler told the outlet.

He added: "I wanted to hang around for a couple more years yet, but it just isn't in the cards."

Lawler's struggle is shared by many other business owners in the hospitality industry who are having difficulty finding workers.

Ray Sykes, who owns the Italian restaurant Arabellas in Winter Haven, told The Ledger he had to hire workers still at high school who have very little experience, or in some cases, none at all.

Recently, a BBQ restaurant called Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que in Winter Park, Florida, shut down after its workforce fell to just four people, Insider's Grace Dean reported.

In the case of Red's Pizza & Catering, Lawler said he tried adjusting the restaurant's hours. This included closing one day a week to give his workers time off, since most of them worked every weekend. But it wasn't enough to save the restaurant.

Lawler hopes to sell the business, which his father founded in 1957, to keep its name alive.

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A $100 million loan on Trump Tower in Manhattan has been placed on a bank watch list, due to a slump in occupancy, reports say

trump tower
A guard stands outside of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

A $100 million loan on Donald Trump's Fifth Avenue tower has been placed on a debt watch list, according to data from banking giant, Wells Fargo.

Bloomberg first reported the story on Friday, noting that the decision was a result of "lower average occupancy."

Wells Fargo, which is the master servicer of the loan, said occupancy has dipped to 78.9% from 85.9% at the end of 2020, according to the outlet.

The building's real estate income was $33.7 million in 2020 and $7.5 million in the first quarter of this year, according to loan documents, Bloomberg noted.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Insider's Kelsey Vlamis previously reported other financial challenges at Trump Tower.

Recently, multiple tenants fell behind on rent. The Trump Organization sued the maker of Ivanka Trump's shoe line earlier this year for $1.5 million in unpaid rent, according to reports.

Some of Trump's properties elsewhere in the US have also been facing scrutiny. The former president's property tax was slashed for his Chicago office tower because the building's commercial space was mostly vacant, The Chicago Sun-Times first reported.

That building's retail space had its assessed value cut to $12.5 million, down from $19.9 million, Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported. The assessed value was cut by about 37% because about 95% of the square footage was vacant, the report said.

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