A popular Victoria diner is closing its doors due to a lack of kitchen staff. North 48 say they plan to close for the month of August. However, if no new staff can be found, July 29 could be their last day of business altogether.
In a Facebook Post, North 48 explained that abrupt departures of three line cooks contributed to the current crisis.
“We started out summer with five line cooks for our four man line. Three of those cooks have experienced short notice changes in their personal lives, necessitating moving away from Victoria,” the post reads.
“We have since discovered that there is an astonishing shortage of cooks in our fair city. We are in a position which provides no options – we cannot operate our restaurant without a full complement of kitchen staff.”
Second Statement Causes Confusion
The following day a follow-up post began circulating online, giving rise to rumours that the closure would be permanent.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must reach out to all of you lovely regular customers and deliver this sad news. North 48 is shutting its doors. Our last day of service will be Saturday the 29th,” wrote Front House Manager, Ryan Cooney.
“If your loyalty card is almost full, or you’ve been a happy recipient of a $50 loyalty gift card, I hope we see you over the course of the next week.”
“Thank you to each and every last one of you for making North 48 a special place to work, full of friendly faces, and happy diners. It has been my pleasure serving you, and together, helping to create a place that we have all called home.”
Closing for August is a “Final Attempt” to find staff
Victoria Buzz reached out to Cooney for clarification. He explained that the company line is that North 48 will shut down for the month of August in a final attempt to hire and train line cooks. However, the prospects of re-opening look slim.
The restaurant needs three new line cooks to open for regular hours, or two to open in a reduced capacity.
“We have had only three real candidates apply for the open positions over the last three months,” said Cooney. “Two of [those candidates] failed to show up for their trial shifts, and the last declining the job in favor of work outside the industry. [sic] We are optimistic, but the hard truth is that North 48’s last service will most likely be this Saturday.”
“The hiring market is bone dry,” Cooney continued. “Craigslist and other such classifieds are flooded with employers seeking cook[s].”
A Dire Prediction For Victoria Restaurants
Cooney added that the current closure could be the beginning of a wider trend.
“As someone who has worked in this industry for nearly 20 years, I can say with some authority that big changes are going to have to happen with the way we staff our restaurants,” he said.
“We may face a future in Victoria where the entire dining landscape is solely hotel supported dining rooms and chain restaurants with collective buying and advertising power.”