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Make a reservation, pleads Penticton restaurateur

As the labour shortage rages on, this Penticton restaurateur is pleading with diners to make a reservation.

"We, and most other restaurants, have serious labour issues and we plan staffing both in the kitchen and on the floor based on reservations," said Gregory Condonopolous, owner and operator of Theo's Greek Restaurant in Penticton.

"People think that things are normal after the pandemic and they can just walk in and get seated and get great service. Well, things are not normal. Please make a reservation so we can expect you and we can meet and exceed your expectations."

It's the age-old balancing act of matching the number of guests with staffing levels.

<who>Photo credit: Theo's Greek Restaurant</who>Gregory Condonopolous is the owner and operator of Theo's Greek Restaurant in Penticton.

While Condonopolous' make-a-reservation request is specific to Theo's, his advice is applicable to any restaurant you're planning to go to that takes reservations.

Meantime, some restaurants don't take reservations and operate on a first-come-first-served basis that generally means you wait in line for a table.

Condonopolus doesn't like line ups and won't let one form at Theo's in favour of reservations and seating walk-ins only if there's immediate space.

While lots of restaurants have online reservations, Theo's wants you to call to make a reservation at 250-492-4019.

This brings us to the point of when should you make a reservation.

The answer, of course, is whenever you want a guaranteed table and you don't want to be disappointed.

That could mean for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary of simply Tuesday night to take advantage of the souvlaki special.

A few days notice for a reservation is ideal, but Condonopolous said the day of or even an hour before is good as a heads up.

Plus, if the size of your group in the reservation changes, let the restaurant know.

<who>Photo credit: Theo's Greek Restaurant</who>Theo's Greek Restaurant has been located at 687 Main St. in Penticton for 48 years.

Condonopolous' reservation appeal comes after an incredibly busy Mother's Day weekend at the restaurant and the anticipation of a banger of a summer.

"We're not operating at full capacity because we can't hire the staff to operate at full capacity," he said.

"So, if you arrive without a reservation and see empty tables we may not be able to seat you because we don't have the staff to serve you."

Thus said, Theo's welcomes walk-ins, if there's room and enough staffing.

"We operate on a 'lose them at the door, rather than on the floor' policy," said Condonopolous.

What that means is Theo's would rather turn people away at the door because they don't have a table and-or the staff to serve them, rather than get them seated and disappoint them with inadequate service.

"Basically, we're saying; 'Hey, we take reservations. Please make one," said Condonopolous.

Theo's was opened by Theo and Mary Theodosakis in 1976 and Condonopolous bought it in July 2019, less than one year before the pandemic would hit.

And then last summer was also tough on restaurants in the Okanagan with wildfires and smoke, evacuations, a travel ban, the cancellation of the Ironman triathlon and the rockslide that closed Highway 97 for weeks.

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