Temporary or not, inflation is rattling restaurants and broader economy

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My favorite burrito went up 20% this month. I don’t track many other consumable goods but this one hit home.


As someone actually in restaurants, the supply chain issues are wreaking havoc with us. The lead time on fixed assets like, say, walk in refrigerators is the longest I’ve ever seen, and imported products are experiencing either huge delays or are simply not available. Manufactured products have strange and sporadic outages- we had to recently sub out takeout packaging we use because the manufacturer couldn’t get enough black dye to keep making the container we prefer. While “sorry, there’s a supply issue with a product you use” is something that is not unknown, the sheer number of them lately has skyrocketed. Some of those issues are solved with paying more from alternate sources or with more expensive substitutes, and we unfortunately have to pass those costs along to the consumer. Some of those we simply do without, such as doing by hand something we would use a machine for, costing more in labor… which again, we have to pass on. This ranges from machines that cut food to the semiconductor shortage stopping us from getting more server handhelds, which are a massive labor saver. Outside of supply chain bottlenecks, our raw material prices haven’t actually risen all that much. Similarly, we’re anticipating that as childcare needs lessen when in-person schools go back into session come September we’ll see an increase in people wanting to work. The number of people looking at the labor shortage and crying “it’s the unemployment payments!” when it’s really “Grandma can’t watch the kids anymore because she died of Covid, and not working is less expensive than childcare” is astounding.


Instead of eating fast food 3 times a week i do 3 times a month. How the hell is a medium meal 10 dollars.


It may get worse: I started cooking more during covid, and I started to really hate spending money on mediocre food. I simply won’t go spend $20 at a restaurant for something I could make at home, which would be a lot better, and with the $20, I could feed myself and a friend. I think the price increase is going to impact them more as time goes on.


The true way I track food inflation is in-n-out prices. Always as cheap as possible, a family restaurant not beholden to shareholders. And prices have gone up about $0.10 an item this year iirc.