Pilbara fast-food restaurants have joined the long list of local businesses unable to operate at full capacity because of worker shortages, with owners pleading with the community to take up roles. WA’s unemployment rate currently sits at just 2.8 per cent, leaving many businesses scrambling to find workers. In the Pilbara, it has meant many businesses have been forced to reduce their offerings, including KFC Karratha, which has slashed its opening hours and moved to only offer Drive Thru Service. The store’s owner, Sam Edelman, said while it was disappointing, he was doing all he could to rectify the situation. “As some of you may have noticed recently, KFC Karratha has been unable to provide consistent operating hours due to being short-staffed,” he said. “Our team are doing their absolute best — and often working more hours than they want — to give you the best service and food possible. “In order to keep our restaurant open and our Finger Lickin’ Good chicken available for when you expect it, we are looking for more people to join our team.” Meanwhile, McDonalds Karratha owner Clayton McIntosh said the venue had been “hit hard”, but had maintained a core group of workers to keep the restaurant open. Mr McIntosh said the shortage was going to increase in the Pilbara. “How do you attract them here? That’s the problem. We’re trying our best,” he said. “The City is doing a fantastic job of attracting people, but they’ve got to want to be here. . . We need families, and we need families now.” Mr McIntosh said on top of lifting wages, he had given his staff paid wellness breaks and an extra four days off a year. “They’re working 45-60 hours a week, and get overworked. I balance it out, I give them wellness breaks, I give them wellness days, they get an extra four days off a year,” he said. “We’ve given them extra money, housing, we’ve done that over the 25 years I’ve been here but it’s more than that now.” Regional Development Australia Pilbara chief executive Tony Simpson said there was a competitive market for workers nationwide making it harder to attract and retain workers to regional locations. He said many Pilbara businesses also struggled to match wages on offer in the mining industry.