Local restaurants feeling hit from inflation

A recent CNBC study shows that inflation is costing the average U.S. household an extra $341 a...
A recent CNBC study shows that inflation is costing the average U.S. household an extra $341 a month.(Mark Lennihan | AP)
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s the latest struggle hitting the already decimated restaurant industry.

Fresh off the heels of the pandemic, inflation is causing more families to look at their budgets, which oftentimes means less money to go out to eat.

A recent CNBC study shows that inflation is costing the average U.S. household an extra $341 a month.

During tough financial times, economists and financial experts often suggest that families cut back on eating out, in an effort to save money.

“You’re seeing a 25 percent decrease in revenues of people just not coming, because they can’t afford it,” said Mike Nusbaum, President of Heirloom Brands and owner of Karem’s Bar and Grill in Norton Commons. “The hardest part, A, was just getting people back in the restaurants eating, because first you had the scares of being in close quarters with everybody. “Then when we finally got everyone back into the restaurants, it was the cost of goods skyrocketing.”

Another struggle for some places looking to get customers in the door-- menu prices are at a 40 year high due to inflation.

“Small businesses-- it’s a huge impact,” said Paul Jarrell, who, with his wife Beth, owns Bambi Bar on Bardstown Road. “I know there’s people that aren’t going out, people can’t afford gas, so they’re not going out, they can’t afford to eat out, and if they do come out, they eat cheap, so it’s a struggle, and it’s a daily struggle.”

Both of these Louisville restaurant owners have fought to not raise prices, even as their costs have increased substantially.

“Chicken went up 400 percent,” Nusbaum said. “And then we had to raise our prices, so that pushed customers away, and then we had to lower prices to get customers back in, so it was kind of like a catch 22.”

“Price of food has gone through the roof, just like gas and alcohol and everything else, it’s all gone up, and unfortunately businesses still have to make their margin,” Jarrell said.

Some local restaurant owners say that they are using promotions to get customers to keep coming back, and have turned to takeout orders as a way to keep business flowing.

Both Jarrell and Nusbaum say that despite all that’s going on right now in the restaurant world, staffing issues are still near the top of the list of problems.

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