Restaurants challenged with customers forced to make tough economic decisions

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 11:02 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With costs for gas and groceries up, many families are forced to find areas to cut back on expenses. Cutting back on going out to eat is often the first place they look. With that, restaurants that already had to raise prices to keep up with inflation are seeing customers forced to make difficult decisions.

There are two challenges the restaurant and catering industries are facing. First, food costs are up nearly 10 percent over the last year. The Fusion Restaurant Catering Owner Shannon Johnson has downsized, now only offering catering.

“Very time-consuming to figure these things out and still keep the good price point, but also, you’re not as profitable as we used to be,” she said.

Johnson hopes to eventually get back to a brick-and-mortar shop.

The second problem she’s seeing is customers cutting back, not only because of rising food costs, but now gas prices shooting past record highs. Johnson is trying to compete but doesn’t blame customers for staying at home.

Across town, Dempsey’s Burger Pub General Manager Sebastian Gordon reports seeing a slight decrease in his crowd due to the same issues with families cutting costs.

“I don’t (eat out) nearly as often as I used to, so I understand when our customers don’t do that too,” he said.

Gordon said he’s increased all menu items at Dempsey’s by about $1 to keep up with inflation, not to turn a profit.

“Just understanding that it’s not just like us jacking up up the prices just because we can. It’s a necessity for the most part for our businesses that I know of to make ends meet,” he said.

Gordon said he hopes to be able to lower prices in the future and understands he’s far from alone in facing higher costs.

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