OC restaurants thrive with restrictions lifted during holiday weekend, still face other challenges
OCEAN CITY,- MD. Night and day.
That’s how some business owners described the hustle and bustle in the resort town compared to last year’s holiday weekend. “It was wall to wall people, elbow to elbow everywhere. There were lines everywhere and standing room here only at Coconuts,” said General Manager of Coconuts Bar & Grill Jeff Hicks.
Despite the unexpected firework explosion and cancellation of the highly anticipated firework show in Ocean City, business owners say that business remained strong. “All 3 of our locations, even Crab Alley our sister store did very good this weekend. So it really didn’t hurt us, but I’m sad they didn’t have them,” President of Bull on The Beach Phil Houck.
Some owners say getting people back into seats at restaurants is no longer the problem.
Now the biggest challenge is the current labor shortage. “We have to be closed on Tuesdays because we’re so short. Even our guys in our kitchen are averaging 15 to 20 hours of OT and that’s with being closed on Tuesday,” said Bull on The Beach’s Michelle Knopp.
I’m told that isn’t the only uphill battle, because as demand grows so does supply. “There’s a lot of times when I can get some of the products i need food wise, plastic wise, aluminum bottles. There’s a lot of things out there that still haven’t caught up to production,” said Hicks.
Despite challenges, business owners also say that it will be a great year for business in Ocean City. They predict that it won’t just top last year, but the year before as well.