Businesses experience biggest increase in food and labor costs since 2009

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Restaurants throughout the nation, both chain and local, are experiencing the biggest increase in food and labor costs since 2009.

“We have not raised our prices as of yet, but we’re [going to] have to and when we do, the customers are really [going to] get upset,” said Lou Mascherino, owner of the Veterans Café and Grille.

While businesses are battling the high increase of these costs, it’s starting to take a toll on many, like local owners like Mascherino.

“I was paying $30 some for a case of bacon six months ago, that same case of bacon…was $85 a case,” he said.

According to Bloomberg, it’s the biggest jump in restaurant prices since May of 2009, sitting at an increase of over 4%.

“There’s no way I can afford to pay $85 a case without raising my prices out the roof,” Mascherino said.

Between 2015 and 2019, the average increase in menu prices was 2.5%, but this year, Bloomberg predicts that number could nearly double.

“I just don’t think these big companies — they don’t care,” Mascherino said. “Especially for these mom-and-pop restaurants like myself.”

Over the past few weeks, owners throughout the nation have increased their menu prices to as much as 5%.

But for Mascherino, that’s barely half the amount to get his business back to where it started.

“At least 10%, 20%, I mean that’s just to get us back to where we should be,” he said.

And if he wants to stay open, he says raising his prices could be in the near future.

“If I’m going to keep doing this,” he said. “I’ve got to make some kind of profit.”

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