Local restaurants running into new challenges as pandemic affects meat industry


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Local restaurants are running into new challenges as the pandemic takes a toll on the meat industry. Processing plants are down significantly as restaurants welcome back customers while managing meat shortages.

At Simply Southern Smokehouse regulars come for two things, an unlimited buffet and the busboys singing gospel.

“A lot of them are regulars that come in all the time and we don’t want to see that go onto them as an unnecessary burden,” Robert camp, General Manager of Simply Southern Smokehouse said.

Restaurants are seeing significantly higher meat prices. As a result, many have resulted in adding surcharges to customer receipts. The smokehouse has no plans to adjust prices for now.

“With the cost raising, we’ve decided we are going to try our absolute hardest not to see those prices go up for the customer,” Camp said.

Chicken and pork prices have soared by 50% in the last two weeks for the smokehouse.

“Some may be able to buy in bulk at times and try to time it right with the market but we are constantly buying so we are having to take some of that burden on with additional costs,” Camp said.

Experts say it’s not so much a meat shortage but an upset in the supply chain. Several meat processing plants across the country have shut down or cut operations due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

“I have never seen anything like his before where it been this up and down,” Camp said.

That’s why grocery store prices have increased by nearly 3 percent since April, the most since the 1970s.

“Two months ago all the prices dropped and supply was down because none of the restaurants were doing the volumes they were previously,” Camp said.

During the early stages of the pandemic had fewer people eating out. The result being buffet style BBQ plates weren’t available for takeout. In response, the supply took a hit, and volumes went down.

Now, customers are eager to get back to their usual tables and dinner tunes as Amazing Grace was sung Friday evening to a spaced-out crowd.

“The costs have shot up and we are just doing the best we can to weather this,” Camp said.

The Simply Southern Smokehouse general manager says they’re working to make sure rising meat costs do not change the price on menu items for customers.

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