A Massachusetts ice cream shop owner is still struggling to retain staff to combat 1-hour lines despite offering an average salary of $20, plus bonuses

hand sprinkling tiny dollar bills onto ice cream against a blue background with faint silhouettes of people standing in line at the bottom
An ice cream parlour in Massachusetts has struggled with a staffing shortage.Getty; Marianne Ayala/Insider
  • A Massachusetts ice cream parlour has one-hour lines outside because there are not enough staff.

  • The owner said three out of six new workers recently quit, leaving him with a shortfall of staff.

  • He added that it's been hard to train staff properly during the busiest season of the year.

Customers have waited in one-hour lines outside an ice cream shop in Massachusetts because the owner can't find enough staff.

Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour, based in Mashpee, had wait times lasting more than one hour on Memorial Day weekend in May when the shop had a five-person crew, its owner Mark Lawrence told Insider.

In early June, Lawrence managed to add six people to his workforce. Three out of those six new employees quit in recent weeks, leaving him with a smaller workforce, he said. Two of them didn't like the job, while the other one never came back or return calls, he added.

Now, there are around eight people scooping ice cream, but Lawrence said there are still long lines outside Polar Cave's ice cream that can be 45-minutes long.

Lawrence said it's been difficult to train his staff properly during the busiest season of the year and that he's offering "'on the fly' training at best."

Video: How Ben & Jerry's makes nearly 1 million pints of ice cream daily

"There is so much more to 'just scooping' ice cream that we are not up to full speed and lines are still long," Lawrence said. The job is a lot harder than people think, which makes hiring challenging, he added.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Polar Cave has suffered from a labor shortage, like many other small and large companies in the US. As the Great Resignation took its toll, many staff quit their jobs because of low salaries, few benefits, and poor working conditions.

The shortfall of workers in the pandemic forced Lawrence to cut Polar Cave's operating hours from seven days a week down to four. Hiring a handful of staff means the shop can open five days a week, he said.

Although he has three more employees, Lawrence was aware that some staff will leave in August to return to college or their home countries.

"Last year, we closed for the last week of August due to lack of staff," he said. "Simply pushing the can down the road is not a solution to staffing issues."

The Massachusetts minimum wage is $14.25 per hour, according to the state's government. Lawrence said he pays Polar Cave staff $20 an hour on average. No one makes less than $15 an hour and employees can receive bonuses throughout the year, he added.

Lawrence, who works every day the shop is open, said it was "unrealistic" for him to pay his staff $25 an hour and provide benefits such as health insurance and housing, when he runs a small business.

"There is a limit to how much anyone is willing to pay for an ice cream cone!" he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider