CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte restaurant is feeling the impact of the seafood shortage nationwide.
Krazy Fish owner George Prisco made the most significant change to its menu since he opened in 2010 and is raising prices.
He said the pandemic had already impacted his sales because of a drop in foot traffic.
“We are down 30 to 40% as far as business goes,” Prisco said.
He’s also working in the kitchen and waiting tables because he’s short-staffed. Prisco also has another problem, however, a seafood shortage.
North Carolina Sea Grant Coastal Economics Specialist Jane Harrison said customers returning to restaurants this summer want more seafood than before.
“A lot of fish, they’re moving because of climate change. We’re seeing these effects where fishermen can’t access the same type of fish they want, in the same place. Number two, we do have processing delays because of labor shortages,” Harrison said. “I think that is both COVID-related as well as a chronic issue in the seafood industry.”
The North Carolina Sea Grant is a program from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration focused on coastal and marine research, outreach and education to promote sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.
Prisco said he’s paying double the price for salmon — almost $14 a pound.
“The way the market is going now with supply and demand, it’s hard to get any,” Prisco said.
The high price and the low supply is one of the reasons he switched his menu. Prisco is not serving calamari and crab anymore.
He’s putting other fish on his menu, including swordfish and amberjack. In addition, he’s adding proteins such as pork and beef.
“What are we going to be able to sell that is going to be easy to afford so they can afford it at a great price point,” Prisco said.
Prisco is also increasing prices on his plates by 10%. He hopes customers understand he has no other choice.
“We don’t want to do that but we are at the point, we have no option,” Prisco said.
Prisco said, for example, on Taco Tuesday he hasn’t been making a profit with $2 tacos. Moving forward, he plans to charge an extra 50 cents.