Restaurants wary of winter, looking to Washington amid inflation, supply chain crunch, worker shortage

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The dreadful winter weather will not happen again from restaurants, kindly to the battered industry

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President Biden visited Connecticut on Friday to explain his spending and infrastructure plans, but restaurants in the state want Washington’s focus on his future.

With the holiday season fast approaching, business owners are beginning to feel the heat from rising inflation, supply chain chaos and labor shortages.

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“We are being crushed,” said Nick Martashenko, owner of South End Restaurant Group in New Canaan, Connecticut, of those broader issues.

Amid patron hesitation, cold weather and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, restaurants are increasingly fearful that the winter season will never again be kind to the already battered industry.

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“Unfortunately we have had to cut some of our business hours,” commented Martashenko when asked about the problems his group, which includes three restaurants, faces.

Indeed, the National Restaurant Association recently released a report good This indicated that most restaurant operators are now worse off than they were three months ago. Additionally, the same survey found that 51% of restaurants said they would not be able to pay their rent in September.

The report comes on the heels of the White House claiming that President Biden’s multi-trillion Build Back Better plan would “protect 97 percent of small business owners from income tax rate hikes,” a statistic that the Tax Foundation calls “misleading.”

With business uncertain for the rest of the year, the National Restaurant Association is asking the Biden administration to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was instrumental in helping businesses hurt by the pandemic.

However, the fund was quickly depleted as restaurants eligible for the program asked for far more than Congress approved – $72 billion in requests versus $28.6 billion in Congressional allocations – which forced some in the restaurant business to lose their money. Worried about the possibilities.

Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said, “The industry in our country has lost nearly $300 billion in losses over the past 19 months. We clearly haven’t been able to get that much out of the federal government to compensate for those losses. ”

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“The restaurant revitalization fund was significant. Twenty-eight billion dollars went back to our industry. But again, about $72 billion was requested for restaurants that needed it. So you have a huge difference in where the restaurant gets funding. is received,” Dolch continued.

Still, Dolch maintains some optimism. He thinks Congress can work together to continue to support the industry.

“I hope we can put people down in DC and our federal representatives keep getting together and understand, you know, we need to help every restaurant get back on its feet,” he commented.

Some warn right away that merely getting more money cannot be manna from heaven. The omnipresent issue of 2021 – inflation – is still a big factor.

“Inflation, you know, cost of goods, [are] Just phenomenal through the roof. “It’s coming up with one more increase after another on a weekly basis,” said Matt Storch, owner of Match restaurant in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

Storch said inflation was his biggest issue in running restaurants, with the cost of some items like fry oil rising by 50%.

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These price increases have unfortunately been passed on to the customer, Storch said, which could hurt business as customers seek cheaper alternatives.

“People won’t accept it,” Storch said of the potentially high prices at his restaurants.

The Biden administration has been slow to suppress rising inflation rates.

According to the Labor Department, the consumer price index, long a highly watched inflation indicator, rose 5.4% year over year in September, the fastest acceleration in 13 years.

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Still, senior officials in the Biden administration have dismissed inflation as an issue, with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein. retweet An Obama administration official on Thursday described inflation and supply chain issues as “high-grade problems.”

Furthermore, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been adamant that passing Biden’s multi-trillion plan is the only solution to the inflation problems that some critics doubt.

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Saki discussed the rising prices on Friday, saying they were a “good thing” because it means “more people are buying stuff.”

However, restaurant owners are not so sure.

“No one wants to pay more for food,” concluded Martashenko.


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