PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At Over The Bar Bicycle Café at the Boathouse at North Park, there’s no shortage of customers.
In fact, business continues to grow.
However, they are dealing with a shortage of people to hire for kitchen staff and other positions.
“Typically, this time of year, when we come into our busy season, we would have about 25 kitchen staff, and right now, we have about 10,” said owner Michael Kotyk.
He says part of the problem is all the new restaurants that have opened.
“One of the things we’ve obviously experienced is a lot of restaurant growth in the area with McCandless Crossing and Pine Town Center,” said Kotyk.
A local representative from the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association says Kotyk is not alone. In fact, at many restaurants, finding staff is tougher and tougher, and one the reasons may be low unemployment.
The representative also points to fewer culinary school grads in our area after the closing of one of the schools several years ago.
The New York Times last month reported on a national shortage of restaurant workers as more people eat out and more restaurants are opening.
At Over The Bar, they’ve made changes including raising wages by a third.
“To lure people to come in here or have sign-on bonuses, and we also started offering health care last year,” said Kotyk.
But with tight profit margins in the restaurant business, he says he can’t raise wages too high.
“If I offer too much I have to raise prices because we still have a bottom line we have to meet,” he said.
So he says if he can’t find enough people to work there, despite a booming business, he may have to cut back hours.