Local restaurants hit by inflation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – This is the latest struggle to hit the already decimated restaurant industry.

In the wake of the pandemic, inflation is causing more and more families to re-budget, which often means less money to go out to eat.

A recent CNBC study shows that inflation is costing the average American household $341 more per month.

During tough financial times, economists and financial experts often suggest that families cut back on dining out, in an effort to save money.

“You see a 25% drop in income from people who just don’t come because they can’t afford it,” said Mike Nusbaum, president of Heirloom Brands and owner of Karem’s Bar and Grill in Norton Commons. “The hardest part, A, was just getting people back to restaurants to eat, because first you were afraid of being near everyone. “Then when we finally got everyone back to the restaurants, the cost of goods skyrocketed.”

Another struggle for some places looking to attract customers at the door – menu prices are at a 40-year high due to inflation.

“Small businesses – it’s a huge impact,” said Paul Jarrell, who, with his wife Beth, owns Bambi Bar on Bardstown Road. “I know there are people who can’t go out, people can’t afford gas, so they don’t go out, they can’t afford to eat in restaurants, and if they go out, they eat cheap, so it’s a struggle, and it’s a daily struggle.

These two Louisville restaurateurs have fought hard not to raise prices, even as their costs have risen dramatically.

“The chicken is up 400%,” Nusbaum said. “And then we had to raise our prices, which drove customers away, and then we had to lower prices to bring customers back, so it was kind of like a catch 22.”

“The price of food has skyrocketed, so has gas, alcohol and everything else, everything has gone up and unfortunately businesses still have to make their mark,” Jarrell said.

Some local restaurant owners say they are using promotions to keep customers coming back and have turned to take-out orders as a way to keep business flowing.

Both Jarrell and Nusbaum say that despite everything that’s going on in the restaurant world right now, staffing issues still top the list of problems.

Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.

Gladys T. Hensley