sugarkane toronto

Toronto restaurant apologizes in advance for slow service due to staff shortage

A Toronto restaurant has decided to put out an advance apology for slow service due to staffing issues, asking people to please be kind to their servers.

"Like an abundance of other businesses, we are experiencing staff shortage," Caribbean restaurant SugarKane posted to their social media.

"Our front of house as well as our back of house have been affected. So this means, if you reserve with us, service may be a little slower than usual."

Restaurants have been plagued with staffing issues for at least a year now, many closing due to shortages, and it's still happening to this day.

"Please be kind to our wait staff during this time, this situation is very stressful and they will always try their very best to provide great service to you," the post continues.

The post goes on to say that while SugarKane welcomes walk-ins, they can't guarantee a table for them at this time, and that reservations are highly recommended right now.

"We are basically giving people a heads up to let them know about what we are going through," SugarKane co-owner Nicky Charles-Page tells blogTO. 

"Often customers come to the door and see a few empty tables, and when we tell them what is happening, some are understanding, and some are clearly not."

She says their popularity is almost part of the issue, with more business on their hands than they currently have staff to serve everyone.

"We have been so blessed to be busy," says Charles-Page. "Our weekends are booked some times two weeks in advance, so the business is there, but the staff are not."

She's currently looking to fill a slew of positions: busser, line cook/prepper and server/bartender, many of which she currently finds herself jumping in to help with on a regular basis at the moment. She says all these positions were much easier to fill prior to lockdowns.

"The staff we have now are so overwhelmed and so are we as owners," says Charles-Page.

"Depending on how busy it is, service may be a bit slow, and you may not get the extra special attention we love to give from our servers, because they are just too busy."

Of course, making reservations is always the best way to guarantee you'll be able to get into a restaurant and avoid disappointment. But aside for convenience for the customer, there are many reasons reservations should pretty much always be made as they are super helpful to the restaurant, resulting in the best possible service.

"It's much easier for us if customers make a reservation, that way we have a bit more control on spacing out reservations, and how many reservations we can accept in a day," says Charles-Page.

The shortage of staff has left SugarKane in a situation she describes as "bittersweet."

"We need every penny we can get, and people want to come, but we can only take as much as we can handle," says Charles-Page.

"We want everyone that visits to have the great SugarKane experience that we've become known for, but unfortunately it's getting harder and harder to do that."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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