By Lisa Washington

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For Cathy Sofranko, breakfast at Waffles INCaffeinated is a treat.

“This is the Beaver County breakfast,” she says. “It’s eggs, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and I’ve replaced the meat with fruit.”

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At Waffles INCaffeinated, eggs are a big part of their business. Between the two restaurants on Pittsburgh’s South Side and on Third Street in Beaver, they use 3,000 to 4,000 eggs in one week.

“We use eggs in everything,” said Gordon Sheffer, the managing director for the restaurant. “From omelets to our batter, we have eggs in our batter, so yes, we’re a heavy egg user.”

But the recent egg shortage means higher prices from their supplier.

“Our cost of eggs has doubled, almost tripled, currently,” said Sheffer.

The egg shortage and price increase is the result of an Avian Flu epidemic. It’s described as the worst in United States history. More than 48 million birds have been destroyed or have died.

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Waffles INCaffeinated is absorbing the cost for now, but customers might soon feel the pinch.

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“If the prices get too steep, we’ll have to re-cost our menu, or re-price our menu,” said Sheffer.

The increase in the price of eggs has already been passed on to customers at the Beaver Supermarket.

A dozen of large eggs there will cost $3.79. Owner Mark Ondrusek says the sales of eggs are down about 20 percent.

“Especially the more expensive eggs, the cage-free eggs, people are not buying as many; but they’re buying a lot more chicken,” said Ondrusek.

Chicken prices are near record lows, because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chickens culled because of the Avian Flu are still safe for human consumption, if handled properly.

“What they’re spending on eggs, they’re more than making up on chicken, if they eat chicken,” Ondrusek said with a smile.

For Sofranko, it’s all about eggs, and even a price increase won’t make her stop or cut back on them.

“Probably not. I love eggs,” she said laughing. “I really do.”

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