Poverty Bay Cafe is located at 1108 S. 322nd Place in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Poverty Bay Cafe is located at 1108 S. 322nd Place in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Poverty Bay Café closes due to staffing shortages

The local cafe plans to hire all new staff, reopen in a couple months.

Poverty Bay Café in Federal Way has paused operations due to ongoing staffing shortages, the local cafe announced on Sept. 15.

The cafe, now operating under FUSION’s ownership, reopened to the public on June 5 after an 11-month closure.

“Due to a current shortage of workers in the food service industry, we are taking a pause in our Poverty Bay Café operations. We want to ensure that we can deliver outstanding service to all customers but have not been able to meet that expectation consistently,” said David Harrison, FUSION interim executive director, in an email to community members. “We will keep you informed of updates as we recruit and train new staff.”

The last day of operations was Saturday, Sept. 11. Though nine employees were scheduled to work that morning, only three people showed up.

With “now hiring” signs swinging in the windows of restaurants across the nation, let alone in Federal Way, Harrison said it’s tough to compete for in-demand food service industry workers.

The FUSION Board of Directors decided on Sept. 13 to close the cafe for a short period of time and “kind of start all over again,” Harrison said. Starting over includes hiring all new staff and a new cafe manager.

The closure is expected to last about two months, which Harrison said is a necessary step toward improvement rather than disappointing customers with less than satisfactory service and too few employees.

Poverty Bay Café operates with a staff of 14 people. With plans to begin a job skills training program in the future, the cafe requires a solid restaurant foundation first before implementing the training program, he said.

The pause pushes back the job skills training program about three to four months behind schedule.

“Fingers crossed we’ll work our way out of it and be back to making pancakes quickly,” he said. “We’re so grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, and we can’t wait to open the doors again.”

Those interested in working at Poverty Bay Café can find out more information or apply by contacting info@fusionfederalway.org.

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