CLEVELAND (WJW) — If you’re planning to eat out at a restaurant this weekend or head to a local bar, you’re not alone. Northeast Ohio bars and restaurants are reporting surging demand, but many say they’re still working to find the staffing to keep up.
“We’re busier than we’ve ever been, even in years prior,” said Michael Grano, General Manager of Collision Bend in Cleveland’s Flats.
Grano said after Ohio’s emergency health orders ended Wednesday, masks are no longer required among vaccinated patrons, plexiglass dividers have been removed and more seating has been added.
“It’s been tough. We furloughed our staff. I was furloughed not once but twice myself,” Grano said. “So, we’re excited to get back to business as usual.”
Punch Bowl Social Club in the Flats is reopening its massive 27,000 square foot space Wednesday for the first time since November.
“It’s going to be the roaring 20s all over again, except the 2020s,” said Lindey’s Lake House Director of Operations Patrick Granzier.
He said business is up but staffing remains a challenge across the industry.
“The only thing that’s not normal is the staffing situation,” Granzier said. “We’re having a lot of issues. I think everyone is.”
The shortage is affecting service and has prompted some restaurants to limit hours, remaining closed on Mondays and Tuesdays or no longer offering lunch.
Lindey’s Lake House and Collission Bend were among the few places open in the Flats at lunchtime Friday.
Grano and Granzier each said their staffing level is currently at about 90 to 95 percent of where they want it to be.
“We’re doing bigger volume than we’ve ever done before on obviously a smaller number of staff,” Grano said, asking for continued patience among patrons.