Restaurants face a triple threat with rising costs | Business

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Restaurants are changing their menu to cope with rising inflation


FENTON, Mich. (WJRT) — Local restaurants face a triple threat as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From high grocery prices to even higher gas costs, rising inflation is impacting local businesses.

“Right now we’re seeing huge cost increases, particularly in our protein but also in our supply chain,” restaurant owner Mark Hamel said.

Hamel owns several eateries and eateries in Fenton, including Crust Baking Company and The Laundry.

He says the cost of certain items like fish and special cut meats to make particular dishes is now too expensive to keep the menu low.

“We have to adjust our menu regularly, a dollar, two dollars sometimes more than that and that’s a huge leap,” Hamel said.

According to the US consumer price index, inflation rose 7.9% over the past year, the biggest increase in 41 years. Among common foods, since 2021, beef has increased by 18.6%, chicken by 13.2% and seafood by 12.1%.

Much of the rising costs he attributes to transportation issues like rising gas prices as well as lingering pandemic issues like labor shortages.

But Hamel and his staff are trying to strike a silver lining by getting creative with their menu.

“We’re looking at proteins that we’ve never looked at before,” he said. “Some that are not common like fish that people have never heard of because salmon is too expensive or other cuts of meat.”

Hamel says customers “get it” because they see the dollar registering with them.

“They shop at the grocery store regularly, so they see the cost of protein, they see the cost of cheese, eggs, and milk and how much it all costs,” Hamel said.

This is where Hamel seeks to strike a balance between cost and dining experience so that his businesses like laundry are unique yet affordable.

“We realize that we’re in Genesee County, so we have to make it affordable or they won’t come,” Hamel said. “Maybe they can’t go out three times a week. They come out once or twice a week. It’s still an affordable luxury.

In addition to these higher priced items, food companies also add a surcharge when these companies order certain items like beef, which only makes the price harder to pay.

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