Ohio restaurant inflation, labor issues

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OHIO – Many Ohio restaurants are seeing costs rise faster than sales.

The Ohio Restaurant Association conducted a survey of state operators May 7-12, a practice it has done regularly since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

This latest iteration showed that while traffic and sales are up for around half of respondents, 98% said food costs were up from a year ago and 91% said food costs were up. of labor were higher.

Nearly 40% of respondents said the cost of food has increased by 11% to 20% compared to a year ago. The rest of the answers break down as follows:

  • 27% reported an increase of 1% to 10%.
  • 21% said costs had increased between 21% and 30%.
  • 10% see an increase of more than 31%.
  • 2% said there had been no change or no cost reduction.

For labor costs, 48% said these expenses had increased between 11% and 20%, while:

  • 26% report an increase of 1% to 10%
  • 12% see a jump of between 21% and 30%
  • 9% saw no change or decrease in labor costs.
  • 3% reported an increase of more than 31%.

Inflation, hiring and supply chain issues remain top industry concerns, with 87% citing inflation, 80% citing lack of staff and 77% citing supply chain as their biggest concern. big problem.

“Most alarming is the impact of soaring inflation on gasoline and diesel fuel, most food and menu ingredients, packaging, cleaning products, building materials and labor. work,” the association said in its statement. “Operators are trying to take some menu price increases and control costs, but are struggling to achieve profitability, which is very difficult after two years of the pandemic.”

Another 22% of respondents cited consumer confidence as a concern.

Only about half of respondents reported an increase in sales and traffic, with 49% saying sales have increased over the past two months and 48% saying customer traffic has increased.

22% said sales were lower than normal for this time of year, while 19% said customer traffic was down.

“It’s a strange time for owners, operators and employees, with guests returning for dinner, especially with the warmer weather,” the association said. “At the same time, restaurants and food service operators remain understaffed and still need employees.”

According to the survey, the industry has more than 800,000 fewer employees than before the pandemic.

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