CHEERS to seasonal restaurants that hire North Country teenagers.

Last weekend saw iconic local michigan stand Clare & Carls open its doors for its 79th season in business.

Even with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, business was booming, with dozens of cars lining up around the little Rt. 9 stand, full of hungry customers.

As with so many gatherings this year, customers were required to stay in their cars, with servers hustling in and out of the kitchen, taking orders and delivering plates of fries and hot dogs.

Of course, even without long lines to keep customers flowing, the staff did their best to keep things moving, in some cases literally jogging across the parking lot with order slips.

Glancing around, servers were often heard shouting over to cars to make sure they’d had their orders taken.

When the dust cleared and opening weekend finished, the business took to its Facebook page with a message of thanks:

“We want to thank all of our customers for being so patient and understanding during opening week,” the post read.

“We have some fresh faces learning the Clare & Carl’s ‘way’ this year, and due to the extreme volume of orders, we have been experiencing very long wait times and more errors than usual. Please recognize that we have wonderful new hires that are excited to be part of the team and are absolutely giving 100%. We are getting better everyday and will continue to strive for the high standard that Clare & Carl’s is known for.”

At a time when we’re all facing higher-than-average stress levels, it was a refreshing and encouraging message.

And it’s a message that should be remembered in future summers to come, when COVID-19 is a distant memory and customers are once again lining up in the sun for a summer snack.

It can seem a simple enough task — plopping hot dogs onto buns, grabbing sodas from the cooler — but anyone who has managed a concession stand or even a backyard barbecue knows that juggling that much can get overwhelming quick.

And that’s even more the case when, as the Clare and Carls post notes, summer eateries are often the first job for teenagers across the country.

Again, that’s not to say restaurant work is child’s play, even seasoned veterans can get flustered on an especially busy day, but the job is straight-forward enough that it can serve as a good first step into the workforce for teens.

And, yes, is part of that experience the trial-by-fire of a busy afternoon? Absolutely. That’s when the teamwork and camaraderie of that job really shines through, when you and your manager can wipe the sweat from your brows at the end of the day and be proud that you made it through.

But that doesn’t mean that customers need to go out of their way to make the rush even more stressful than it already is. Part of the experience of eating out, after all, is the “being out” part, so sit back, turn on the radio and enjoy the sunshine.

And based on the replies to the Clare and Carls Facebook post, their customers were more than happy to do so, with many reporting that the wait times were fine with them.

So kudos to patient customers and to eateries like Clare and Carls for taking a chance on our area teens and letting them learn the lessons that can only come from those mealtime rushes.


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