Saskatoon restaurant puts customers first while balancing the pounds


It takes a good recipe to run a successful restaurant, but as the cost of those ingredients rises, businesses are working overtime to keep serving customers the same way.

For the past four years, Jason Wosminity has managed Las Palapas, Saskatoon’s go-to Mexican restaurant.

In the colorful dining establishment’s 18 years of operation, Wosminity said there have never been prices like the ones we see now.

“It’s amazing how many increases we’ve had,” Wosminity said. “(These are) crazy, crazy prices that we’re facing.”

Every element of every menu item and so much more behind the scenes contributes to the formula that makes a restaurant like Las Palapas what it is, Wosminity explained.

Things like glassware, furniture, decorations, maintenance and more are things that create the mood that people love in a space.

The cost of these items – and especially freight – has become one of the biggest expenses at Las Palapas.

“Everything we’ve bought is from Mexico and to have it come here now is astronomically much higher than what we’ve ever had in the past,” Wosminity said.

New orders are in the near future for the restaurant as glasses break and wear out, but these have a higher cost now that the restaurant will have to cover.

It’s an expense that has “exploded,” but Wosminity said owners won’t compromise on the quality and quantity of what their restaurant offers, even if they see the cost of key ingredients go up.

“When it comes to putting food on our guests’ tables, we’ve found the formula that works for our product,” he said, “and so we’ll never stray from the recipes we’ve created. and who are so successful with.”

Jason, manager of Las Palapas, prepares two drinks behind the bar. (Libby Giesbrecht/650 CKOM)

Meat, for example, costs the restaurant about 13% more, according to Wosminity. Last Monday, Wosminity said the owners convened staff for a meeting over the cost of canola oil, which jumped 21% on the restaurant’s bill last month.

With these price increases, some of that must eventually affect menu prices, Wosminity shared, but said the restaurant is working to find a way to keep prices affordable for everyone.

A delicate balance between keeping the restaurant’s offerings in a place where customers see good value and can afford to bring their family while passing some of that cost on to them to keep the business affordable is the key to surviving today’s economy, Wosminity said.

Other considerations, such as Saskatchewan which is only a month away from a minimum wage increase, must also be taken into account.

“It affects this industry tremendously,” Wosminity said.

Having great staff, some of whom have been in the restaurant since it opened, is another thing the restaurant will soon have to address.

“We treat them well, we pay above average, we have perks that a lot of places in this industry don’t have and it’s all about the bottom line,” he said.

Overall, Wosminity said the company is seeing thousands more per month.

“We’re easily 15 percent higher than on net,” Wosminity said.

He added how grateful the business is for all the support it has received from loyal customers who have made an effort to support the restaurant throughout COVID and continue to frequent the dining room and patio now, against these costs.

“I am so proud to be a local restaurant entrepreneur supported by such a beautiful province,” he said.


About Author

Comments are closed.