West Bend restaurant owner closes after abusing staff

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WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) — A West Bend restaurant, Skinny Vic’s Diner and Coffee Shop, closed early Sunday after some customers mistreated its staff. Owner Vicky Lehnerz said kindness goes a long way, especially during times when restaurants are short-staffed.

“It wasn’t necessarily something specific that was said or said to a waiter, it was just overall mean words. Rude comments, finger snapping,” Lehnerz said.

On Sunday, she shared a Facebook post describing the incident, garnering over 200 shares and over 700 likes. On a regular basis, Lehnerz employs around four people. She asks for kindness and patience from incoming customers.

Lehnerz opened its Skinny Vic store in West Bend about two years ago during the pandemic. His restaurant is just one of many that are suffering from understaffing.

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“Statewide, the restaurant industry has lost approximately 22% of the workforce due to the pandemic,” said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

She said there was already a staff shortage before the pandemic and it has only gotten worse.

“I think people were pushed, well forced, out of this industry when we had to shut everything down,” Lehnerz said.

Lehnerz said she is hiring and encouraging people to apply and send their resumes to skinnyvics@gmail.com.

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