Restaurants making adjustments during rush of business in holiday season

This is the first holiday that everything is back and open — we are in full swing,” said Gaucho bartender, Brandon Larkin.

Holiday dining is finally back. This is a time of year restaurants really rely on.

During the pandemic, restaurants were dealing with restrictions related to masks and spacing. On top of that, some customers were hesitant to dine out because of COVID-19.

Many restaurants have also been dealing with staffing issues, so do they have enough workers for the holidays?

At Gaucho, they have a fully trained staff for the first time in two years.

“The new people we have hired in the past few months have some experience coming into, so they are already seasoned, they know what they are doing and what to expect,” said Don Doherty, the Gaucho manager.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association said staffing is still a struggle but getting better as more people are returning to work.

Some customers have concerns about inflation impacting tips and are wondering if servers expect a 30% tip.

“I think it’s an unreasonable ask to think someone’s going to tip a third of their bill to us, as much as I want the money,” said Larkin.

“Standard tipping is about 20%. In the cities like Pittsburgh, it’s a little higher 21% and 22%,” said Ben Fileccia with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

But families should expect to pay more when they go out due to inflation, as menu prices have gone up.

“We’ve tried to work around it and tried to do the best we can. We had to make some increases but trying to keep them as minimal as possible,” said Doherty.

Some restaurant owners said families should know they are booking up fast for this month.

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