"Demand is way up," says Nye. "It's almost back to where it was pre-COVID, and after over a year it's really refreshing and really exciting to be able to say that."
The increase in demand can be attributed to a couple of things: warmer weather and more people getting the vaccine.
"Between the widespread vaccinations, that's definitely getting people more comfortable being out," says Nye. "Our staff is almost entirely vaccinated so that makes guests more comfortable coming here."
Roam Cafe was able to keep all of its staff working throughout the pandemic, but other restaurants are having difficulty bringing workers back. Stimulus money and unemployment benefits could be contributing to the current shortage of restaurant workers.
"A lot of restaurants in the industry are having a tough time getting staff back from unemployment," says Nye.
Another big issue on restaurant owners' minds is the use of sidewalk space for outdoor dining. The City of Rochester is still technically under an emergency order, which means Mayor Lovely Warren can still exercise her emergency powers and there's a bit more flexibility with how sidewalk space is used. Restaurants are concerned that once the emergency order is lifted, changes could be coming to sidewalk space.
The general feeling among restaurant owners right now is that, while it is a problem to have more demand than staff to meet the demand, it's a good problem to have.
"It's a very promising sign that businesses are looking for staff again," says Nye.