Local Restaurants Still Struggling With Supply Chain Issues & Labor Shortages

Tuesday, January 25th 2022, 4:31 pm

By: Amy Avery


Locally owned restaurants are still trying to get by nearly two years after the pandemic started.

Managers say food costs are going up and it's difficult to get some products in right now, but it's even harder to hire people. Ty’s Hamburger Owner, Kristina Cushenberry, says loyal customers have kept her in business the pandemic, but every day is a new adventure.

"Some days its real good business, some days the numbers are really low and it’s the rollercoaster that everybody is riding right now and it's a hard ride especially for small business,” said Cushenberry.

Kristina says they flip about 50 to 100 hamburgers a day, and she’d like to hire two more people for the lunch rush -- but the 'help wanted' sign has been in her window for more than a year.

"It's just an ongoing fight trying to find people,” said Cushenberry.

Kristina buys most of her products locally, so she hasn't had trouble getting meat or vegetables — but things like to-go boxes and fountain drinks are in short supply.

"McDonald's can get it but we can't because we're small,” said Cushenberry.

Because it’s difficult to get products in, restaurant owners say they’ve had to raise some of their prices to keep up.

"I really want people to feel comfortable and don't want them to look at our menu and go wow, but it's all around the town,” said Sushi Hana Owner Kenny Chan.

Chan says it's difficult to find products like chopsticks or certain sauces, but when he does find them they're double or triple in price.

He says before the pandemic edamame was about $20 a case -- and now it's about $50 a case.

"Everybody is having a hard time right now because everything is so much more expensive - beef, chicken, vegetable, and then you can't get any guys to work and if they do come to work we have to pay them more to stay,” said Chan. “It's a scary time because everything is so expensive."

Chan says he has even struggled to find soy sauce packets, so he's filling small containers to get by.

"Then I heard that the 2-ounce cups were running out too so I went to Sam's club to get 4 or 5 cases,” said Chan.

Kenny says in addition to product prices rising, so is his payroll.

"If they do come to work we have to pay them more to stay," said Chan.

Restaurant owners say the biggest thing customers can do to help them get through the challenging times, is to eat local.


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