LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Inflation is not only pushing the price at the pumps but also at your favorite small businesses, including local restaurants.
They all have to make a tough decision. As prices rise from their suppliers, do they pass that price to the customer?
Smiles are on the faces and food is on the plates of customers at Heavenly Place 2 in Lafayette.
Owner Samantha Williams hopes it stays that way next week when she introduces a new menu with all the same items, but more expensive prices.
Williams admitted, “Everything is just going up, and we have to go up on our prices in order to survive.”
When she says everything is going up, she’s not kidding. A gallon of grease used to be $21 a year ago. Now she’s spending $49. A box of chicken tenders was $34. Now it’s over $60, and the prices extend to even packaging like to-go boxes which have tripled. Many small restaurants work with the same suppliers.
“You don’t want to tell the customers every time this is why I’m going up because of this, but if you go in the stores right now, you see what I’m saying,” Williams said.
“I think it’s affecting everything right now,” stated Director Heidi Melancon with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has heard the same story across several industries and likens it to a tidal wave that ends with the consumer.
“It’s anything from a consumer-oriented business such as a restaurant, retailer, to those that may be having problems with supply chain issues, and rising cost in construction and industrial projects as well, so it’s affecting all business owners right now,” according to Melancon.
The true test to these new prices will come after the holidays she said. That’s when people typically cut back on eating out and spending money. Loans from the pandemic have cushioned some of the blows, but they do have a limit.
Williams doesn’t desire any small business to go down because prices go up. She only made the change after her deli made no profit.
“I worked at another restaurant, a large business, and they have a lot to lean back on, but a small business, we don’t have a lot. I don’t for sure have a lot to lean back on, so I work with what I have, but with prices going up right now, I’m trying to survive,” Williams said.
“We just have to go up on those prices a little bit and hope everybody understands.”
KLFY did speak to other restaurants off-camera who all said the same things.