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Labor Shortage Prompts Santa Monica Restaurant To Close

Patch logo Patch 9/14/2021 Nicole Charky
a pizza sitting on top of a table: Milo SRO in Santa Monica plans to close next month due, citing not having enough workers to help run the restaurant in the pandemic. © Shutterstock Milo SRO in Santa Monica plans to close next month due, citing not having enough workers to help run the restaurant in the pandemic.

SANTA MONICA, CA — The pandemic has brought the restaurant industry to its knees, and now a Santa Monica pizza spot plans to close due to a labor shortage — part of a mass exodus happening across the U.S. at retail and service jobs.

Milo SRO, the baby sister pizza parlor sister to local favorite Milo & Olive, will close its doors on Oct. 10, the company announced.

"We’re sure many of you know about the challenges restaurants across the country are facing with staffing," the company wrote via Instagram. "In order to run this place in the thoughtful way we desired and at its full capacity, we truthfully needed more staff. This is also an industry where burnout is common, and our employees’ physical and mental well-being is so incredibly important to us."

Team members from Milo SRO will transfer to Milo & Olive, 2723 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Patrons can expect some of SRO creations to migrate, including the gluten-free dough.

The move is an important one for the longtime Santa Monica company.

"We’ll be moving all of our dedicated staff over to Milo & Olive, which offers some much-needed relief," the company said. "It’s better for everyone’s health, and ultimately, the long-term health of Milo & Olive, which turns 10 this November."

"Our team put a LOT of love and time into creating something special and delicious for this community, and we’re so incredibly proud of what we accomplished," the company said.

The pandemic has altered the way people work and created a labor shortage amid the worst financial crisis in U.S. history. It's also spurred what's now known as "the great resignation."

Just in April, 4 million people across the country quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department. More than 740,000 of those people worked in hotels, restaurants, theme parks, entertainment venues and bars.

The reasons to leave the food and hospitality industry vary — people want more flexibility, remote opportunities, better pay and other options. Some are willing to take on new jobs, even if it's temporary.

"We haven't seen anything quite like the situation we have today," Daniel Zhao, a labor economist with the jobs site Glassdoor, told NPR.

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