Joy Senn, 22, works two jobs in Fayetteville, including a night shift at Eureka Pizza.
                                                                      Photo: Ann Claire Johnson

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Joy Senn works the night shift at Eureka Pizza on Leverett Avenue, a go-to place for hungry people roaming through Fayetteville’s party district.

“Our main people that we get coming in late at night are college kids, or people coming from the bars,” Senn said. Working the night shift can be crazy any day of the week, but on weekends, Eureka stays busy until their weekend closing time, 3 a.m. – an hour after last call. At that hour, some customers are out of control.

“Occasionally we have customers that we have to call the cops on if they’re belligerently drunk,” Senn said. Her position at the pizza restaurant is classified as a cook but “it’s kind of like an all around restaurant. We all take the orders, we all make the dough, we all have to close the restaurant down at some point or another,” Senn said.

Senn, 22,  was raised in rural El Dorado, Arkansas and is currently on a “financial break” from being a student at the University of Arkansas. Senn has two semesters remaining in order to obtain a degree in biology. She is currently not enrolled in college. Senn had an academic scholarship when she first began college but was unable to keep it because of her workload on top of schoolwork.  

Working throughout college at different food service industries is very different than Senn’s job on a farm in El Dorado. She works the night shifts at Eureka Pizza to “maintain her full time status”at Eureka Pizza even though she also works during the day at Smitty’s Garage as a waitress. Senn has been financially independent since she began college. She pays for her tuition, her rent, and she pays for all of her bills without help from family, friends, or sponsors. Senn is currently living near the University of Arkansas campus with a roommate that she found on the university’s “roommate surf” website.

Since starting her job at Eureka Pizza in November, Senn has seen her hourly wage raised from $8.50 to $8.75. Despite the pay, Eureka Pizza takes care of their employees, she said. Senn said that the employees, like herself, are under the poverty line but they get benefits for working full time. “If you are a full-time employee, you get paid vacations, paid holidays, and time and a half after you have worked overtime,” Senn said. The pizza restaurant really works with their employees, especially the ones with families, to make sure that they are able to maintain their “full-time status.”