INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW)– There was a major rush at lunchtime at Romito’s Pizza in Independence on Friday.
The owner said Independence High School decided to place a large order for the pizzas after the staff learned they didn’t have enough cafeteria workers to prepare lunch for hundreds of students.
“We’re here to sell pizzas so they wanted some pizza, you know. We got on the phone last night, got a few people involved, did some extra prep work last night and we’re here to pump it out,” Mike Connors said.
Connors said the mega order for the high school is a sign of the times.
“We’re all in a pickle right now. I mean, we’re short staffed, everybody is short staffed. It’s just a weird time, that’s the best I can tell you, you know. We’re all just trying to get through it,” he said.
Administrators at Independence High said the staffing shortage is a two-fold problem. They’re having trouble finding qualified workers to drive buses and work in the cafeteria, and those who can work, are getting sick from COVID. The situation is so challenging that the district’s service manager was not only serving up the take-out pizza at lunch, she is also driving bus routes before and after school. She said other employees are wearing several hats as well.
“It’s a great group of people, and they really all go above what’s expected of them and they do all work, which is really great,” Francine Kane said.
Hot, take-out pizza on a Friday was an unexpected bonus for Independence students.
“I think it’s a good thing for them. They like it a lot and, you know, I hope it’s a good treat for them,” Connors said.
The district must now come up with a solution to the staffing shortage that forced them to order takeout.
“It’s crazy but we do what we have to make it work,” Kane said.