west town

Biggest Staffing Shortage in 15 Years Causes West Town Pizza Place to Close

After experiencing a major staffing shortage, a West Town pizza restaurant has been forced to temporarily close its doors to Chicagoans after 15 years.

Coalfire Chicago owner Dave Bonomi said the restaurant is closed because they "simply to not have enough people to open."

Bonomi hung a sign on the door that reads:

We are closed today. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone. We simply don't have enough people to open today. Thank you for your support! Dave.

"I’ve never put out a job listing where you get zero applicants after a month," Bonomi said.

With employees reporting fevers or other illnesses amid the COVID pandemic, Bonomi said for the first time in nearly 15 years he couldn't find anyone to cover the necessary shifts.

According to a September survey from the Illinois Restaurant Association, 75% of Chicag-area restaurants are under-staffed, with 92% paying more for food and 83% having higher labor costs.

"We have a occupational pandemic going on right now in the United States," Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said.

Toia added that beef prices are up 60% from last September, according to the restaurant association's survey.

"Processed poultry is up 30.3%, flour is up 29%, pork is up 27.7% and seafood is up 16.6%," Toia said.

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