WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Restaurants are facing a number of challenges as they dive into the summer months. Restaurants can’t get a break on top of a hiring shortage.
The cost of meat has gone up and it’s causing restaurants to drive up menu prices or cut items off the menu all together.
Experts say prices will level out but most likely not until the Fall.
Finding people to work has been restaurants’ biggest challenge recently.
“Everyone’s having the same issue with the working situation,” said restaurant owner Grace Colarusso.
But now there’s an additional challenge. The price of meat has skyrocketted on top of the chicken shortage.
“Yeah the chicken shortage is a definite problem,” said Colarusso.
“Now the price of chicken right now is crazy,” said restaurant owner John Stuchkus.
Stuchkus, the owner of The Chicken Coop, says it’s normal for prices to increase this time of year, but it’s different now.
“Usually it goes up in the summer with the grilling season, but right now wings are way out of control. They are like four dollars a pound.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, beef prices are up almost 10% since last year.
Bacon is now averaging $6.22 per pound, and steak is at $6.64.
“Not only has chicken gone up, but everything else has gone up. Beef has gone up. Everything! Everything we use on the menu has gone up.”
This has forced The Chicken Coop to increase prices and customers seem to be aware and understanding of that.
“It’s not just chicken, but everything has seen an uptick in price. Along with everyone talking about lumber, and wire and stuff, meat has been affected just like all of it,” said Mike Caffrey, customer.
Other restaurants have resorted to taking wings off the menu.
“They’re just so expensive. He’d have to charge $20 a dozen. You might as well go get a steak, seriously,” exclaimed Colarusso.
These setbacks have everyone reserving their hopes for things to return to “normal” as summer kicks off.
“It’s another thing that everyone needs to adjust to, and I don’t know where it’s going to go. And I don’t know where it’s going to be in another month, but I don’t see it getting better,” said Caffrey.