Inflation highest in nearly 40 years; how local restaurants are dealing with the cost spike

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Last month, inflation has climbed 6.8%, which is the highest it’s been since 1982. Spikes in prices of food, gas and electricity are just some of the items that are putting pressure on the economy and consumers’ wallets.

Restaurants are especially feeling the effects of the increase in prices, saying it’s been difficult to make ends meet.

Restaurants are struggling during these times. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“Currently we can’t serve crab legs in one of my restaurants because they went from four hundred dollars a case to fourteen hundred dollars a case. Butter just doubled last week in one day. So, we’re going to start passing an out to the guests at this point,” said Joseph Campana, owner of several local restaurants in downtown Colorado Springs.

Some restaurants have taken to adding a surcharge to their bills in hopes that things will eventually return to normal. Other restaurants are looking to raise their prices.

Restaurant owners said they’re trying to find creative ways to cut costs. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“I’ve probably raised prices twice. In the 10 years that we’ve been there. And that’s drinks and food. And that’s normal things, you know. But, when beef prices go up from eighteen dollars a pound to thrity-eight a pound, you would have to serve a hundred-dollar eight-ounce filet on your menu,” Campana said.

Just in the last two years, Campana said he’s raised prices, and already he said he might be looking to a third price increase.

One thing restaurant owners noted was that they did not want to sacrifice the pay of their employees as a way to save money. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“People have to understand that restaurants make anywhere from six to ten percent so if you do a million dollars a year, you could make sixty to a hundred dollars, but when you have things like this hitting you, it just take it all away so quickly,” he said.

In the meantime, Campana said that he’s grappling with what to cut next, while still being fair and providing an enjoyable experience. He said at one of his restaurants, Bonny and Read, they got rid of their table linens, which saved them at least a few thousand dollars. Then, he said he looked at silverware costs.

“We were paying, you know, seven to eight dollars per fork, now I’m paying three to four dollars. But it’s a lower grade of silverware. Not a lot of people catch that but it’s important to me that I want people to come in and have a nice fork when they’re having a fifty-dollar meal. But now these are cuts that we have to make,” Campana said.

Restaurant owners said they hope things will eventually get better, but for now they’re going to try everything they can to stay on top of costs. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

One solution restauranteurs said they can foresee is hoping that things will get better, and buckling down in the meantime.

“In our industry we’re dealing with those supply chain things,” Russ Ware, managing partner of restaurants in Colorado Springs. “We’re dealing with costs going up, so there’s a lot of menu prices going up right now across the board, but also you can only do that so much. So it’s challenging. This winter is going to be tricky.”

These are tricky times, but restaurant owners said they’re trying to stay positive for their customers and staff and they hope the community will continue to support them during these times as they find a way to get back on track until things can balance back out.

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