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'Two steps forward, one step back': HopCat in Grand Rapids dealing with worker shortage

HopCat Door
Posted at 5:04 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 17:04:41-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — "Two steps forward, one step back." That's how one restaurant is describing the service industry right now.

HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids is having to function with fewer people, like a lot of places.

The restaurant is closed every Tuesday and isn't open for lunch anymore, saying they just don't have the kitchen staff to support the hours.

HopCat even had to close on Friday because they were down to only one cook after sick calls and they say they don't want to overwork the staff they do have.

“We're just analyzing every part of it right now, to try to make sure we just giving a good place to work,” said Shawn Blonk, vice president of operations for Project Barfly. Project BarFly is the parent company of HopCat, Stella’s Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

HopCat and other BarFly restaurants downtown just raised minimum wage for kitchen staff to $15.50 per hour.

They're also offering free mental health care and have a new pickup window for takeout orders.