Crystal Coast business still giving back to community despite operating with just two employees

National News

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — As many businesses in Eastern North Carolina struggle because of staffing shortages, one restaurant along the Crystal Coast is running with just two employees.  

This Labor Day, Shark Shack’s owner said they had to close their doors because of the staffing shortage. They say this is an ongoing situation. 

“Our answer is always we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” said Taylor Thomas, owner of Shark Shack. 

Shark Shack owners Taylor and Jeremy Thomas say they don’t believe their staffing shortage is due to COVID-19. They say this time last year they had a full staff. They believe this fast-paced environment is not everybody’s forte. 

“It’s keeping my employees in a healthy state of mind, like we had to stop working weekend nights because they would be on the line for about 10 hours straight,” said Taylor.  

The couple said right now they have one regular cook and one prep cook, while Taylor runs the front of the house and her husband, Jeremy, runs the kitchen.  

Taylor’s 73-year-old father comes in every day, too, to help out. On the weekends, they have two family friends drive over three hours to come work at the restaurant. 

“We’re taking it week by week to see basically what we can do to even stay open at this point,” said Taylor.  

Despite it all, the restaurant still gives out a local hero deal to first responders. They say it’s the least they can do for the people who are constantly working for the community.  

“Just going out every day, they don’t know if they’re coming home. So, a free meal for them goes a long way,” said Taylor.  

The meal costs $5 and people who visit the restaurant have the option to pay it forward. 

“It includes an entire list of items from fresh seafood like shrimp and fish sandwiches, wraps, tacos, burgers, hot dogs, chicken dishes, and includes their side item of choice and a drink all for $5,” said Taylor.  

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