Managers posted a message on social media that reads, in part, “Due to poor quality, we will not be selling any salad at this time.”
“You get someone who gets a bad salad, then you have to replace that. So then on top of that, it cost us money.” manager Brandon Salmon said.
The quality of lettuce is decreasing and the cost is spiking amid a shortage, which is mainly caused by a major lettuce-growing area in California hit hard by a mystery virus, drought and heavy rains.
“A thing called the ‘white spot’ virus that pretty much wiped out a lot of the green fields, so right now, they’re sending out lettuce but it’s not really great quality,” said Salmon.
From pizzerias to fast-food joints to fine dining establishments, many are pulling lettuce off the menu. That’s also creating a ripple effect for Northeast Ohio lettuce growers.
“My phone’s been ringing off the hook the last couple days for, you know, our current customers looking for replacement,” said John Bonner, owner of Great Lakes Growers in Burton.
Great Lakes Growers supplies most Northeast Ohio grocery stores and Bonner says demand is exceeding supply.
“They’re used to getting 10,000 pounds in the field. Now they’re only getting 5,000. If they keep doing that, it just exacerbates the shortage,” said Bonner.
Restaurant Business Online says a box of iceberg lettuce has gone from $14 in 2019 to a whopping $67, a 378% increase — affecting area restaurants’ bottom line and quality ingredients.
Still, Angelo’s Pizza patrons continue to order their favorite pies with a side of patience.
“Be cool with not getting a salad for a week or two from us, to make sure they get a good one when everything kicks back in,” Salmon said.