Wichita restaurant owner gives insight into inflation impact on industry

Prices are rising as inflation grows at a rate not seen in decades. It’s a situation felt at homes and in businesses across the country, including restaurants.
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 10:39 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Prices are rising as inflation grows at a rate not seen in decades. It’s a situation felt at homes and in businesses across the country, including restaurants in Wichita.

Rising costs on grocery items means you’re likely to pay more at restaurants, too In Wichita, The Fusion Restaurant Owner Shannon Johnson is preparing for her annual “Fake Patty’s Day” Saturday. However, she says inflation made this year’s celebration more expensive than ever and has tremendously impacted her restaurant.

She said she’s doing all she can to stay afloat.

“I run to four or five or six different grocery stores in a day because I know where I need to get the best price on a product,” Johnson said.

She’s had to raise costs of her menu items by 7% due to many of her ingredients doubling in costs.

“It first started with paper products, not only the increase in price, but the availability,” Johnson said. “And then, of course, meats went up through the roof. Our bacon is a big thing for us, our pork, because we grind our own sausage here in house. When it goes up, you can no longer sell it at the price you want to.”

She said she knows her restaurant will persevere through current challenges and understands the changes are needed to keep the doors open.

“We used to keep everything $10 and below on our menus. We wanted to be a place people could bring their families, children, everything and just enjoy a great meal at a nice price and not hit the budget too hard,” Johnson said. “And now we are… what we had to do actually is eliminate menu items and raise prices.”

With inflation rates expected to increase even farther this month, Johnson hopes customers are patient and understanding.

“Bear with us, you know. Everybody is trying and we know the menu prices are going up. We’re not raising them to get an extra dollar for anything,” she said. We’re just trying to do the best that we can.”

Johnson acknowledged the current situation with inflation affects almost every local business owner she knows, and she attributes continued success of her restaurant to loyal customers. She said if Fusion can make it through two years of a pandemic, it can handle rising food prices.

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