Centralia Dairy Queen Struggles to Stay Open Due to Supply Chain Issues

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For the foreseeable future, the Centralia Dairy Queen Grill & Chill will be open for limited, fluctuating hours.

Its supplier, Sysco Seattle, typically arrives at the location twice per week. This week, there has been just one delivery, along with limits on how much product the store can order. 

“We don’t have confirmation on what causes it but there was a massive labor shortage,” said Mike McKinnon, who owns all six Dairy Queen locations in Lewis and Thurston counties, which are also seeing shortages. “We went to modified hours where, rather than 13, we were only open 7.5 hours so that we could ration that product and hopefully give hours to those employees that want to work.”

But on Tuesday, the store finally sold the last of its key menu items and had to close. 

“It was a difficult choice to make but certainly we wanted to take care of our employees,” McKinnon said, noting that employees were being compensated for lost hours. “These people need to pay their rent, and you can’t just cut people off at the knees.”

On Thursday, a delivery was finally made. The store was able to reopen from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., peak hours for the store, which sees its biggest crowds in the summers. This week’s heat wave will draw in even more customers during those limited hours. 

Those eager customers will just have to keep a close eye on the store’s Facebook page, “Centralia DQ Grill & Chill,” for updates as management attempts to retain employees and ration what product the store is able to receive. 

The store will also have a limited menu when open, noting on its page Thursday that it will likely run out of chicken strips, onion rings and other items.

McKinnon said closing in the middle of summer is something he has never had to do in over 20 years of owning Dairy Queens. 

“This has been the most difficult year I've ever seen to run a restaurant,” he said.

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