THE notion of sticker shock may have originated in the 1980s, when
shopping for a new car carried along with it an unexpected nasty
surprise, but nowadays it’s just as seriously associated with a trip to the
grocery store. Likewise, it is not uncommon to feel a pang of despair or
trepidation when the bill arrives at a favorite local restaurant.
Regardless of the reasons why — labor shortages, the scarcity of necessary input
materials, the ripple effect from global supply chain bottlenecks, the war in Ukraine
or the lack of critical equipment — the simple fact is Americans are paying more
across the board for everything. It can be a challenging proposition.
With the consumer price index showing an 8.3 percent increase from August 2021
to August 2022, it is easy to see why people are feeling the pain in their purses and
wallets in every major economic sector.
Restaurant owners are no exception.
“This has been the most challenging couple of years in my career in regard to supply
60 october 2022
chain,” says Bill Scott, managing partner of
Cape Fear Seafood Company. “Some of our
items have more than doubled in cost since
2020, which makes pricing and profitability
an even bigger challenge.”
Meeting the demand from consumers
looking to escape the everyday and venture
out of their kitchens has been an additional
challenge for restaurateurs. As a response to
the demand from consumers searching for
something different and tasty that is also
quick and easy, Vivian Howard, award-win-ning
cookbook author, TV personality, chef
and restaurateur, came up with the concept
for Viv’s Fridges.
“With Chef and the Farmer her flagship
restaurant in Kinston closed right now for
renovations, my main supply chain chal-lenges
have been with Viv’s Fridges, which
offer grab-and-go meals in Kinston, Bald
Head Island and Emerald Isle,” says Howard.
“We’ve seen huge demand from customers but
it’s been challenging to get more fridges and
A common thread among restaurant oper-ators
seems to be an aversion to passing on
price increases to their patrons.
“We are very conscientious of pricing and
know we can only pass on so much cost before
it starts to affect the guests’ overall experience
and value,” says Scott.
Top chefs share ideas for tasty,
By Fritts Causby
S T R E T C H ING