Massachusetts restaurants dealing with supply-chain issues and increase in food costs

BOSTON — Restaurants who fought through the pandemic are now dealing with supply-chain issues. Also, the Massachusetts Restaurants Association says on top of all around shortages, wholesale food costs have increased 17% since April last year.   

“What we could get last week, we may not be able to get next week,” said Andy Husbands, owner of The Smoke Shop BBQ.  “That could mean the cheese that I use for my mac & cheese — it’s very specific cheese — it could mean the containers that we wrap our to go in. It’s really challenging.”

He says every week it becomes more difficult to run his five Smoke Shop BBW restaurants, as supply-chain issues continue to cause a lack of labor and a lack of product.

Stephen Clark, COO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, says the 17% increase in wholesale food costs is the highest in a long time.  

“That’s the largest wholesale food increase in nearly five decades,” said Clark. “Eggs are up to 220% year-over-year. Butter is up 51%.”  

Alex Morris, the Director of Operations at the Barking Crab in Boston, says that due to rising costs, they’ve had no choice but to increase some of their prices. 

“The stuff that we have to have so lobsters and any seafood, we just had to bump up our prices a little bit to accommodate for the higher prices,” said Morris.

Another issue? Food vendors point out there are a lack of truck drivers.

“You have those supply issues. Then on top of that, you have fewer truckers than ever. I think we have 50,000 open trucking positions nationwide.”

All in all, Morris said she is thankful customers that are coming through their doors are understanding.

“Overall, a lot of people right now understand that because they’re having a hard time getting the food themselves.”

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