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Rochester restaurants react to rising inflation on food products

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Restaurants are facing yet another challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, rising food costs.

The Labor Department says food prices have reached the highest they have been in 40 years.

Rising inflation is causing all of us to see higher prices for food, not only in the grocery stores but at restaurants too.

“Like everybody else in the industry, we are feeling some of the pinch from higher prices,” Olde Brick House General Manager Jack Krakow said.

Salad and rolls at one restaurant in downtown Rochester
Salad and rolls at one restaurant in downtown Rochester(KTTC)

Just last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the past 12 months, food prices have increased by nearly six percent at restaurants, which is the biggest jump since 1982.

“There are some that are close to 100 percent,” Victoria’s Ristotante & Wine Bar Co-Owner Natalie Victoria said. “So it is absolutely the worst it’s been since I’ve seen it in 24 years.”

Meat products have seen some of the highest price increases.

“So chicken, meats, oil, cooking oil has really gotten high,” Victoria said. “A lot of our to-go plasticware, some of our items that we package all of our entrees or foods in.”

Customers eating lunch at Olde Brick House in downtown Rochester
Customers eating lunch at Olde Brick House in downtown Rochester(KTTC)

“We’re seeing an increase in price on meat items obviously, so beef, pork, and chicken,” Krakow said. “And we’re seeing an increase in price on paper goods, so to-go items, bags, items you maybe wouldn’t necessarily think of, paper towels, toilet tissue, things like that have gone up in price.”

Another issue restaurants are dealing with right now is supply chain issues causing certain products to be delayed or unavailable.

“We’re having a tough time with our rolls, we’re having a tough time with desserts, we’re having a tough time with a lot of our to-go products,” Victoria said. “We’re having a tough time with some of the specialty products that we order in, so we’re trying to go through multiple vendors. We’re driving up to the Twin Cities sometimes to get items.

While businesses may be able to absorb some of the rising costs, customers will be seeing changes to the menu.

Not only for their meals, but for alcoholic beverages and even fountain drinks as well.

Customers eating lunch at Olde Brick House in downtown Rochester
Customers eating lunch at Olde Brick House in downtown Rochester(KTTC)

“The price of liquor and alcohol has gone up exponentially, and just to find some items has been more difficult,” Krakow said. “One thing we noticed also is that fountain beverage prices are going up as well, so people will see an increase in items like Pepsi and Coca-Cola going forward.”

Both restaurants say they are blessed by the support from their customers and will continue to face these pandemic-related challenges head-on.

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