From the grocery store to the dinner table, the family meal is costing more. And for restaurants, it’s another challenge as they struggle, in some cases, to just break even.
“Inflation is definitely one of the problems we’re dealing with right now. And it’s inflation with the items you can get, let alone the items you can’t even get,” said Keith Beaulieu, owner of The Main Pub in Manchester.
Beaulieu has seen food costs soar, and that means their menu needs to be fluid.
“It’s a daily process of making sure that menu prices are correct. Is the menu written correctly? Are we using the items that we need to use? Do we maybe not need to use this? Let’s shrink the menu a little bit. Let’s make sure we’re not buying too much. Make sure what we are serving is awesome because we’re, unfortunately, probably having to raise prices to compensate for that,” said Beaulieu.
The restaurant industry is not the only industry adapting to rising costs, but it’s certainly added to the industry’s challenges. Prices on goods rose more than six percent compared to last year. Connecticut Restaurant Association President Scott Dolch says all of it has a huge impact, and in many cases, businesses are just trying to break even.
“These restaurants that you go to every day are having to really look at their numbers every day and can’t just keep a consistent menu, can’t just keep consistent pricing,” said Dolch. “Every piece of cost that goes up makes it harder, squeezes that margin of what they can make.”
“Not that we’re looking to charge more than we need to. We’re looking to charge what we have to to stay operational,” said Beaulieu.
For restaurants, monitoring those changing costs is a matter of survival as they adapt and wonder what happens next.
“I think the next four to five months are critical that we continue to get the support that we need to get us through the winter and get us to the spring,” said Dolch.
Dolch says continuing to support local businesses, like getting your holiday meal from a restaurant, makes a difference. And with worker shortages, he also stressed the importance of being patient.