CT Diner Owner Reaches Out to High School Students to Help With Staff Shortages
His name is Nick Roussas, and he owns Frankie's Diner on Barnum Ave. in Bridgeport. Like many restaurant owners in Connecticut, Roussas had trouble staffing all the shifts until a high-schooler wandered into his diner.
According to usnews.com, the teen who attends Bridgeport Military Academy had walked into Frankie's looking for a part-time job washing dishes or perhaps busing tables. The high school focuses on law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical services, homeland security, and military sciences.
Roussas ended up hiring the young man who turned out to be a dependable, hard-working employee, and that's when this great idea popped into his head. He decided to hire three of his classmates to take care of take-out and delivery orders. Roussas told the Connecticut Post that the part-time work is perfect for them and also really helps him. Instead of having waitresses take care of takeout and delivery, he now has a position called "fulfillment specialists" that these high schoolers successfully run.
Roussas began running Frankie's at 21 and only a semester away from graduating from Sacred Heart University. However, when his father became ill, he had to put college on hold to run the diner full-time.
Other obstacles fueled by the pandemic got in the way, like price hikes for food and supplies plus shortages of paper goods. To survive, he decided to focus more on the take-out and delivery components of the business.
He was so impressed by the work ethic of the Bridgeport Military Academy students, he also hired high schoolers from other schools to concentrate on the take-out and delivery portion of Frankie's Diner.