In addition to hiring issues, local restaurants are also facing supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
When the virus forced manufacturers to shut down or change operations, it disrupted production. Some manufacturers have closed down completely as the demand for certain products has declined. But as the nation, and especially Summit County, begins to reopen, restaurants are finding production to return more slowly, which is difficult to navigate as consumer demand is back in force.
One of the main impacts on local restaurants is the nationwide shortage of chicken wings. Alan Bullock, owner of Ollie’s Pub & Grub in Breckenridge, said it was difficult to find enough supplies to feed customers.
“Our business being a sports bar, our food of the same name is chicken wings and burgers, but chicken wings in particular (have been hard to come by) probably since mid-February,” Bullock said. “(It) was in short supply, resulting in inconsistent deliveries in terms of product quantity and quality.”
The chicken wing shortage was caused by a few different factors, including pandemic disruption and the winter storm in Texas in February. According to The Wall Street Journal and Texas monthly, the winter storm alone killed more than a million chickens.
Bullock said he uses a single supplier to source chicken wings and has to place small orders more frequently to get what he needs.
“Typically, your food supplier prefers that you try to place as large an order as possible to reduce the number of times they have to deliver to your restaurant, but our supplier, due to their constant influx of inventory, is actually encouraging us to order as often as possible in smaller quantities to give them the ability to keep up, ”Bullock said.
On top of that, Bullock said his supplier raised the price, which then trickles down to the menu. Bullock said the price of chicken wings has doubled – if not tripled – over the past year, and the price for a large order of wings at his restaurant has dropped from $ 18 to $ 28.
“We are proud to have the giant chicken wing, but with the inconsistency of the product, sometimes we sell wings that are half the size we would normally sell, so we increase the quantity we put in our order. “, he mentioned. “However, this has become more consistent lately.”
Ollie’s Pub & Grub in Breckenridge isn’t the only restaurant in town struggling. Mahdi Torabinejad, barista at House of Vibes Coffee and Curio in Silverthorne, said he frequently had to visit several stores in Summit County to get milk substitutes, such as oat milk and coconut milk.
“I shop for milk and it sure is, the last two or three times I was (gone) I tried different stores when before you could really go anywhere and they had to. oat milk, ”Torabinejad said.
Torabinejad said the cafe placed orders for some supplies, but the store relied on local county grocery stores for other items like milk. He said the store normally tries to get unflavored milk, but had to buy vanilla milk in some cases because that was all that was available.
Although the last few races were difficult, Torabinejad said the store had not had too many days when it was completely short of needed supplies.
Lynda Colety, the owner of Moose Jaw in Frisco, said the same thing. Colety said that while she has experienced slight shortages of chicken and fish, it hasn’t been bad enough to worry. Instead, Colety said she had the most problems with the coin-operated machine revamp and felt for her two pool tables.
“Our coin mechanisms are from China and I think it’s been a few months since they broke,” Colety said.
Because it’s been so long, Colety said she has opened her pool tables so guests can play for free until the coins are delivered, which she hopes to have in the week.
As restaurants continue to sidestep supply chain issues, Bullock said he wants customers to know that if they see price increases, it’s because the companies themselves are trying to keep up. supply and demand.
“This is the result of the restaurant itself paying more for (the items),” Bullock said. “(I’m trying) to emphasize that we don’t just raise prices because we think we can, but we do it because we have to.”