Iowa restaurants feeling the effects of inflation

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:57 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Some smaller restaurants throughout Eastern Iowa are having to change their prices to cover their costs. It’s a change that’s unlikely to go back to “normal.”

Shelly Schrader has plenty of loyal customers at her sandwich shop “Olive that Deli” in Manchester. That’s why she hated telling them this week that they’re raising prices 5%.

“You don’t want your customers to feel that you’re gouging them,” she said. “You want them to be able to come and have a great meal without them feeling like they’re breaking the bank.”

The deli couldn’t avoid inflation. It rose 5.7% nationwide in 2021. That’s the fastest pace in nearly 40 years.

“Our suppliers, all of our vendors have been raising prices along the way,” she said. “In two weeks’ time our bacon went up 30 dollars a case.”

Associate Dean for Graduate Management Programs Jennifer Blackhurst predicts inflation will improve by the middle of 2022. She adds that smaller restaurants will feel the effects more. “The buying power of a small local restaurant or business, is not as a powerful as a global or a national company,” said Blackhurst. Schrader says sometimes vendors don’t lower prices once they realize people will still pay the higher cost.

“Because sometimes when prices are up, then they just stay up,” she said. “When they {vendors} realize that they can pay for that and people will continue to pay for that, then the vendors, I don’t see them ever come back down.” She hopes her customers that stuck with her through the pandemic, will also understand this new hurdle.

“When the money is spent here in our community then it stays in our community,” she said. “It allows us to employ people here.”

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