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Inflation's impact on the Valley restaurant industry

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 10:50:17-04

PHOENIX — Inflation is impacting everything, including your favorite places to go out to eat.

Danny Quinn owns three restaurants across the Valley including Publicco Italian Eatery in Phoenix.

“I feed off challenges and so this business is... definitely, if that’s what you like, this is the business for you. You know, it’s not for the weak, that’s for sure,” Quinn said.

Within the past two years, there have been a lot of challenges. First, the pandemic and now inflation.

“My prices go up, I can’t necessarily raise prices to the customer to get myself out of that because at some point people won’t go out,” Quinn added.

According to the National Restaurant Association, in 2021, restaurant sales were down $65 billion compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.

President of the Arizona Restaurant Association Steve Chucri says he believes rising costs will force some restaurants to close this summer. He says many restaurant owners have noticed that fewer people are eating out.

“If these gas prices continue to be at this level that’s only going to hurt our dining frequency which in turn hurts restaurants,” Chucri said. “If costs continue to go up, supply continues to go up as well as just not being able to get some things that you offer on your menu. If you can’t get the ingredients, you can’t sell certain items on the menu. We’re seeing a lot of that as well.”

It’s something Quinn has experienced firsthand.

“This June was the worst June I’ve had since I’ve opened,” he said. But he says he hasn’t raised his menu prices yet, and he’s remaining optimistic.

“We’re going to figure it out. We always do,” he said.

Quinn and Chucri are urging people, when they can, to eat locally and support small businesses.