Restaurants dealing with staffing crisis, supply shortages, and rising costs are asking customers to be patient

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local restaurants are dealing with supply shortages, rising costs, and a staffing crisis all at once. Businesses and customers alike are feeling the impact.

The owner of Santora’s, Paul Santora, said shortages of certain products and staffing issues are causing the dining out experience to be a lot different than it used to be. He’s asking customers to be patient.

Santora said to survive, he had to raise some prices.

“You’re talking anywhere from 5-25% depending on the item, like chicken wings. Not too long ago you could get 10 chicken wings for $11 now you can’t find chicken wings for less than 15,16,17 dollars. Burgers, steaks, all those things have completely risen,” Santora said.

The prices of fryer oil and paper products have also skyrocketed. He said they’ve stopped carrying bottled beer because they can’t get it consistently and 60% of alcohol they wanted to order recently was out of stock.

On top of it all, they’re having trouble getting enough quality workers.

“No matter where you go, you’re only gonna get so much as far as service goes because everybody’s new, everybody in the industry is being trained as they go because we’re short staffed,” he said. “You may have a person who’s been with us 3,4 days taking care of a person at a table because we just don’t have any other option.”

His advice to customers: if something isn’t right, nicely speak up.

“They’ll compensate you they’ll take care of you,” he said. “Don’t go and make your point an hour long on social media because that’s where you have your voice. It’s very hurtful to ownerships of businesses like restaurateurs who are really trying to do the best they can and people are so critical and insulting on social media.”

He also said he’s not even sure what ‘normal’ is in the industry anymore, and that’s the scariest part.

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