When a hungry customer learned that Popeyes was understaffed to open on time, she decided to fix the problem herself.
The boss-turned-employee was captured in a video that went viral last week, amassing 1.3 million views on TikTok. Her friend, posted under the username @thoroughbred_84, showed what happened at a Popeyes drive-thru after discovering the restaurant’s opening had been delayed.
“We don’t open until 11 a.m.,” a Popeyes employee told the two women through her microphone.
“The website said 10 a.m.,” replied one of the women, who was outside the car.
“Ma’am, we’re short-staffed, so we don’t open until 11 a.m.,” the employee said, and the woman on foot approached the microphone.
“Can I have a job then? Because I’m hungry,” said one of the customers.
The employee simply replied “Yeah”.
After the customer said she was having technical difficulties applying on the Popeyes website, the employee told her to come over to the window.
“Do you want to interview me now?” asked the customer.
“Yeah,” said the worker, as the client left the screen for her interview.
In a follow-up video, the woman danced to her friend’s car, dressed in a brand new Popeyes uniform.
“Yeah, I got the job,” she told the camera. “Start Monday 8 o’clock.”
The woman’s companion also noted that her starving friend received free food after the job interview.
The restaurant industry’s slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been hampered by staff shortages. Although the industry continued to add jobs, job growth slowed significantly in August, which saw the smallest monthly gain since December 2020.
According to the National Restaurant Association, food and beverage outlets were still down 633,000 jobs, or 5.1%, from their pre-pandemic levels in August. In a survey conducted between July 14 and August 5, nearly two out of three restaurants told the group they did not have enough employees to meet customer demand.
Job openings are hard to fill, in part because there are so many industries competing for employees. The United States had 11.2 million job openings in July, one of the highest levels on record. The professional and business services, health care and social assistance sectors each had about 2 million job vacancies.
On TikTok, viewers raved about the Popeyes lover’s attitude to labor shortages, which made other customers abusive to service workers.
“She has a drive-thru interview,” one onlooker laughed.
“People like this always impress me,” another user commented. “Go ahead. She may be here now, but I swear she will make it with this mindset.”
Newsweek contacted @thoroughbred_84 and Popeyes for comment.