Eastern Iowa catering businesses deal with inflation challenges as they still recover from pandemic impact
ST. DONATUS, Iowa (KCRG) - New data out Tuesday shows prices are likely to keep going up. The Labor Department’s producer price index is up 10 percent from a year ago.
Catering business across eastern Iowa are feeling the impact of those rising prices, particularly when it comes to gas and food. That has been the case at Kalmes Restaurant and Catering in St. Donatus.
Judy Lochner, who has worked at Kalmes for years, said rising prices very concerning to them. She said the impact is certainly there, but that to understand how impactful these high prices could be for them, one has to take into consideration everything businesses like hers has gone through over the last two years.
Kalmes is well-known in northeast Iowa for providing catering services to all sorts of events, including weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and funerals. When the pandemic started most of those events were either cancelled or postponed. Lochner said this had a devastating impact on the business.
”Our business was off by 90 percent with the restaurant and the catering, of course too, so it has been very difficult and there are still repercussions from it even now,” she mentioned.
She said they are still trying to recover from the pandemic’s impact while also dealing now with inflation and rising prices.
”We have kept our prices as we had set them for this year and so forth, but yeah, the prices have all been raised with our meat and all of our other products have gone up as well, so we just, we make do, we just serve less people sometimes,” she explained.
Lochner said staffing shortages also prevent them from catering to as many events as they used to before the pandemic.
Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.