COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be receding in Missouri, but the threat of inflation continues to hurt businesses nationwide.
A spike in gas and food prices has put many restaurants in a tough spot. Missouri gas prices average between $3.74 for regular gas and $4.30 for premium gas. Diesel has the highest recorded average price, at $3.95. That’s almost a dollar more than in 2008, according to AAA.
“It’s been tough for me, I source most of it from St. Louis, Kansas City all the way to Chicago,” said Dimetrious Woods, owner of Munchi’s Fish and Chicken.
Food prices are also rising, especially meat.
Woods says he plans to take the hit from inflation and doesn’t plan to raise prices for his customers.
According to the USDA, food price increases are expected to exceed increases in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, grocery store and supermarket prices are expected to increase between 3% and 4%. Food purchased from restaurants is expected to increase by 5.5% to 6.5%.
The USDA reports that price increases will hurt food purchased from restaurants the most. It is expected to exceed historical averages and the rate of inflation in 2021.
Farm cattle prices are also expected to increase between 12.5 and 15.5% in 2022. Wholesale beef prices are expected to increase between 4% and 7% this year.
As a result, some restaurants are increasing their menu prices, according to CNN.
Current prices at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque in Kansas City are $21.95 for a pound of brisket, $17 for a burnt ends sandwich, and $18 for a brisket sandwich.
This has caused Arthur Bryant to nearly double his prices over the past year.
Woods says that at his restaurant, the price of buying meat for food has nearly doubled, but he doesn’t expect that change to hurt his customers.
“To pass this on to the consumer would be totally unrealistic, so it’s a tough tradeoff, but for me that’s where the challenge comes in, the entrepreneur. How do you make work in the unworkable? And that’s It’s the life of an entrepreneur,” Les Bois said.
And while inflation continues to hurt Woods, he says the best way to support his customers is to keep most of his prices the same.
“Because we have a community-based business, we understand our customers, we understand real life and everyone is going through it and, wonderfully, it seems to work,” Woods said.
Come back and watch ABC 17 News at 6 for more on this developing story.