TUCSON, Ariz. — First it was toilet paper, and now coins are in short supply around the country. You can even find signs in front of drive-throughs asking for exact change in the Tucson area.
“We are starting to see that more and more,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “And people not taking their spare change, because they are not out like they used to be.”
Chucri says the fast food industry is the sector of restaurants most impacted by the coin shortage.
“Has it crippled the industry? No, but we are seeing a lot less currency being used,” he said.
Reported reasons for the shortage include fewer coins circulating in the economy after shutdowns, and many people turning to online shopping. It’s another potential hurdle for an industry that has already been pummeled by the pandemic.
“I will tell you in the month of April alone we lost $815 million in sales in Arizona,” Chucri said.
Chucri says between shutting down, opening back up, and restrictions on seating, a coin shortage is low on the list of troubles. Most are dealing with it simply by asking customers to use a credit card or donate their change to a charity.
“I think the coin shortage is a good problem to have given the other problems we’ve had,” he said.
That being said, he would like to remind people to support their local restaurants.