DINNER · PIZZA · DRINKS
To the Bird Dog Roadhouse family of guests and friends,
Due to an acute ongoing staffing shortage we’ve reluctantly hit the “pause button” here at BDR. We are not closing. We have a beautiful restaurant, a wonderful location and fantastic guests. Our business is sound. All of our employees and vendors are paid. We are simply pausing restaurant service operations until proper staffing levels can be achieved which we anticipate will occur sometime in the fall.
On a general note, Maine’s extremely low unemployment rate and older demographic particularly amplifies tight restaurant and food service labor markets. Maine’s Department of Labor and the Portland Press Herald just reported preliminary data for July that shows the unemployment rate near or at historic lows of 3%. For 43 consecutive months it’s been below 4%, which is the longest period of low unemployment on record for our State. These challenging hiring conditions directly affect staffing not just at restaurants but also at all organizations from law enforcement to health care. Local police departments are now offering $14,000 signing bonuses just to get potential recruits in the door. This summer the hospitality industry, and in particular kitchen staff at independent full service restaurants, has been hit especially hard by labor shortages across the board. BDR ran an ad for a pizza maker this summer offering $18-20 an hour. Not one qualified candidate replied. Qualified sous chefs? Line cooks, etc.? It’s the same story not just for us, but one told across a wide range of restaurants in the Greater Portland area and beyond. Affordable housing and transportation issues for our kitchen workers, which in previous years never emerged as a significant issue, actually played a surprising role this year as seen in the difficulty attracting staff to work in Cape despite paying wages far above typical rates.
Because of this shortage of Back Of The House staff at key kitchen stations wait times for food steadily crept-up to unacceptable levels. By necessity operating hours were adjusted. We were furiously running just to stay in place and on occasion not meeting our own commitment to consistent excellence. It was as frustrating for us as it was for our guests. Rather than possibly risk further compromising the guest experience and the high level of service and food which BDR is known for, we reluctantly came to decision to hit the “pause button” while we go about the process of re-staffing and reestablishing our focus.
Again, our business is sound. We have an extraordinary building and wonderful location. We were having a very busy summer. And our guests, as in years past, were wonderful and very supportive adding immeasurably to the privilege we feel serving the people of Cape and beyond. In short, our restaurant isn’t going anywhere and we will resume service better than ever.
In the meantime we ask the BDR family of guests and friends to support the other restaurants in Cape such as Sea Glass at The Inn By The Sea, The Good Table, C Salt, The Well, and the Cape House Of Pizza (hope we didn’t leave anybody out!). Along with BDR they contribute greatly to what makes Cape Elizabeth such a livable and desirable community.
Please watch our Social Media and email updates for the latest news. A rejuvenated BDR looks forward to seeing you all soon!
517 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME