Feeling the Heat: West Michigan restaurant industry grapples with labor shortage

A struggle to find staff willing to work for minimum wage is forcing one pizza shop in Grand Rapids to shift from offering a dine-in option to becoming solely a delivery operation.

Mike Raymond, the owner of Grand Rapids Pizza & Delivery (GRPD) in the city’s Heritage Hill neighborhood, last month decided to close his nearly 15-year-old restaurant to walk-in eaters and take-out customers. Instead, he’s leveraging technology and opting for a delivery-only model using Uber Eats, a third-party delivery service operated by ridesharing company Uber Technologies Inc.

Raymond said the decision largely came about because of the region’s shrinking labor pool, particularly as unemployment hovers at or below 4 percent. By adopting the third-party delivery model, GRPD will be able to shrink its workforce from nearly 20 people at its peak to a skeleton crew of less than five workers, he said. READ MORE…