PENNSYLVANIA, USA — For restaurants, the hits just keep coming.
“People see we’re fighting to keep it going, keep paying people," said Jim Switzenberg, executive chef of the John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville, York County.
As with many others, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the food industry upside down.
And now inflation is presenting a new challenge.
“To be successful, I’m lucky I can reprint menus because without being able to change all the time, we would lose money every day," said Switzenberg.
He says some price points have gotten so out of hand, it’s forced his staff to get creative.
“We came up with a crabless crab cake where we’re using sea bass," said Switzenberg. "Tastes like a crab cake, looks like a crab cake but it’s sea bass because we don’t have a choice. I’m not putting a crab cake on the menu for $60.”
Ongoing supply chain problems aren’t making things any easier for businesses either.
“There’s always a Plan B," said Lauren Berg, front-of-house manager at Iron Hill Brewery in Lancaster. "Every once in awhile there’s something we can’t get.”
“Most people still are getting produce from California and it’s getting more and more expensive and it’s getting more and more inconsistent," said Switzenberg.
Switzenberg says the key is staying local.
“The closer we can get our product, the safer it is at this point because gas prices are affecting everything," he said.
Berg adds that being flexible is also important.
"When COVID hit everything changed and I feel like every day we’re rebuilding, we’re finding new ways to handle things," said Berg.