Increased food prices force restaurant owners to cut staff

Meat, eggs and other staples more expensive

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - Surging food prices are forcing restaurant owners to cut corners by cutting staff.

Beverly Watkins is one of the last waitresses still working at Shelby's Kitchen and Deli just south of Boca Raton.

"Everyone is worried for their job, it's definitely hard you get half your paycheck," says Watkins.

Rising food prices are forcing the owner to cut costs, and that means less staff. Owner Erik Brinkmann says he's tried to increase prices on the menu, but it's not enough to stay in business.

"Our purveyors make us order a minimum amount or they charge us $50 to deliver. I can't pass that $50 charge onto the customer," says Brinkmann.

Customers notice the menu.

"Everything from a cup of coffee to Pepsi has gone up," says Doris Taylor, a local customer.

Brinkmann knows he's not the only one suffering. A fellow restaurant owner in Deerfield Beach says it's mainly family who works at his restaurant, because he can't afford other staff.

"That's our way of survival, if we had to put staff in there like we had years ago, we'd have to close the doors. I'm going to be 67, I never thought I'd be working at this age. I'm not complaining, I'm a survivor," says Steve Krevoy, owner of Cove Bagel & Deli.

Brinkmann says his restaurant will make it to November when the snowbirds return because his family is working the restaurant. This is his wife at the register. He hopes one day he can hire again, and offer locals more jobs.

"It's great to work with family, but not to have your 72 year old dad at the register," says Brinkmann.

When Brinkmann opened Shelby's six years ago he says there were five other diners within a 2 mile radius. He says today, Shelby's is the only one still open.

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