BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After coming out on the other side of Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic, the local restaurant industry was hit with worker shortages, supply shortages and inflation.
New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 5 percent increase for the month of May — the highest jump since 2008.
Back Beach Barbeque Pitmaster, Shane Kirkland, said some of their meats went up 100 percent or 200 percent in some categories. He said they’ve had to seek out different vendors to find the best prices. Brisket, pork and chicken are all on the rise.
“We have one vendor that’s been really great to us to that’s cool,” Kirkland said. “They help us out as best they can but overall it’s just kind of tough to see that.”
The barbeque joint had to raise its prices — something Kirkland said they wanted to avoid for as long as possible.
“We eventually had to go up for a little bit just to kind of stay competitive and make sure we were still doing a good job from business standpoint but it was the worst thing,” Kirkland said. “Neither me or the boss — like the owner or me wanted to do that at all.”
Back Beach Barbeque also felt the effects of the recent shutdown of the JBS meat packing plant due to a ransomware attack hitting the supplier.
“It’s just one thing after the other that just kept hitting us but we’re still staying, we’re still doing good,” Kirkland said.
Los Antojitos General Manager, William Dozier, said even though inflation isn’t the reason for the price changes, they’re still seeing products like liquor in short supply which in turn raises the cost.
“The increase has been caused by the demand of products that we can’t really get our hands on as easy,” Dozier said.
Dozier said the restaurant is taking the hit for now, but that could soon change.
“Being that we are coming a little out of pocket a little more for the products that we use,” Dozier said.
While working on Friday, Dozier even noticed a price jump unrelated to food or drinks. The cost for kids to play the popular arcade game some might know as ‘The Claw’ went from 50 cents to $1.
“But it just really opened my eyes to what’s really going on around us because I thought that was a significant jump,” Dozier said.
The local spots said they’re making it work — but the price increases and supplies shortages are still hurting their wallets.