PROVO — Business has been booming these days, but the owner of Fat Daddy's Pizzeria in Provo said he can't find enough employees.
"Trying to find skilled labor for our kitchen has been specifically hard for us," said Chad Pritchard.
The labor shortage plaguing the restaurant industry has required him and other staff to work a lot of extra hours to keep the pizzeria running smoothly.
"I've been in the business for 25 years," Pritchard said. "I've never seen it like this ever."
He's had to rely on his teenage daughter, Madelynn, to cover shifts. Fortunately, she grew up immersed in the restaurant world.
"We always joke around that it's marinara running through my veins, not blood," she said.
Seventeen-year-old Madelynn Pritchard was promoted to assistant kitchen manager and finds that it's increasingly fellow teenagers working beside her.
"Most of the kids that I work with, I went to school with," Madelynn Pritchard said. "Being able to work with people my age — my height, too — is really nice."
Her dad said he welcomes the assistance from the teenagers and pays them what he would normally pay adults.
"We have 10 staff members that are under the age of 17," Chad Pritchard said. "These teenagers that are coming in and working the roles that traditionally professional cooks were doing."
The teens are very teachable, Pritchard said, and loyal to their jobs.
Another attribute he finds refreshing: They are good to each other.
"What was surprising to me was how hard they work," he said. "And not just how hard they worked, but how seriously they took their work."
Lukas Borges, 17, started working at Fat Daddy's Pizzeria about four months ago and quickly learned how to do several different jobs.
"After a while, I started learning how to toss the pizzas and it's been amazing," he said. "I love it here."
Borges said the job has helped him with his school work and encourages other teens to find work.
"If you work now, you're going to learn how to be able to work with other people," Borges said.