West Bend restaurant owner shuts doors after mistreatment of staff

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WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A West Bend restaurant, Skinny Vic's Diner and Coffee Shop, closed its doors early on 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 anything necessarily specific that was said or spoken to a server, it was just the overall unkind words. Rude comments, snapping their fingers," said Lehnerz.

On Sunday, she shared a Facebook post describing the incident, garnering over 200 shares and over 700 likes. On a regular basis, Lehnerz has a staff of about four. She asks for kindness and patience to incoming customers.

Lehnerz opened her Skinny Vic's location in West Bend about two years ago during the pandemic. Her restaurant is just one of many suffering from the shortage of staff.

"Statewide, the restaurant industry has lost about 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 pre-pandemic and it was only made worse.

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

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

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