Procurement Problems and Restaurant Price Increases

Procurement Problems and Restaurant Price Increases in 2022

With restaurants and cafes finally reopening their kitchens, many of us—while being thrilled to return to our favorite haunts for our favorite dishes—may have also been served with something not so much to our liking: an unsavory bill. Procurement problems and restaurant price increases have become a norm in 2022.

Why? Because we’d wager that bill came at quite a higher price point than pre-pandemic for the exact amount of food.

We’re talking about inflation, and it has hit industries across the globe, with restaurants being no exception. So, what’s the deal? Are restaurant owners simply getting greedy? Are they hiking their prices in hopes of making up for lost funds during lockdowns and forced closings this past year? In procurement we know that is not the case— restaurants are another casualty of the current global supply chain woes. 

So, what do procurement problems have to do with the now super high price of your favorite pasta dish? Plenty. 

Restaurants Faced Substantial Price Increases Over the Past Year

Some chefs and restauranteurs are facing such backlash that they are seeking creative ways to show consumers and patrons just what they are up against.

A wildly popular California chef, Kwasi Moses, known as @chef_kwaz on Instagram, wanted to show his at the time 45.8K followers what’s happening in the restaurant industry. He posted an itemized list of the ingredients and supplies that fall on his usual shopping list (with costs for each), then lined this same list up with the items cost just one year prior.

The visual hit its aim, revealing the stark contrast between prices—from fryer oil that had doubled in price to takeout boxes now costing a whopping four times what they did just 365 days prior. The list goes on. 

How Procurement Problems andRestaurant Price Increases Are Affecting Owners

The point of the post was to show how inflation is affecting the restaurant owners and chefs as well, not just the diners they’re serving. It also shows that it’s not about greed but global shortages and scarcity in supply. So, now restaurants had to weather the storm that was the past nearly two years of pandemic yo-yoing (can we open? Are we closed?), and they are being hit smack in the face with the ever-rising costs of nearly every ingredient they rely on to produce their menus. 

We must face it: Inflation is across the board these days. And as the global supply chain continues to falter, everything from the prices of beef to lamb to plastic for takeout containers, glasses, and beyond are all caught in the crosshairs—as are consumers, unfortunately. 

One example of procurement woes in the restaurant world was voiced by Erin Smith, chef, and co-founder of Feges BBQ restaurant in Houston. Smith explained that “The price increase for meat is substantial and is having a tremendous impact on our business,” before describing that “Brisket costs have gone up 45 percent since 2020! Brisket makes up 75 percent of our sales because in Texas beef is king.”

And it’s not just ingredients that are the issue, as a shortage in labor (think drivers to deliver these mountains of needed ingredients and supplies each day) is also causing quite a headache. A dramatic increase in shipping costs due to the overburdened global supply chain also contributes to the messy recipe.

So, what does that mean for restaurants and diners in 2022? Will procurement be able to save the day? This remains to be seen, but hopefully restauranteurs see some relief soon. 

By Michael Cadieux