- Joined Apr 9, 2019
Meat, generally, was one of the early shortages but the situation hasn't gotten a whole lot better. Instead, a bunch of other items are also getting harder to find and/or more expensive. I liked using a restaurant supplier (either one that catered to home cooks, directly, or "borrowing" a restaurant's access) but this article from a local paper shows how rough things have gotten even for restaurants. First, it was issues directly related to the pandemic, now it is the wage shortage across a heap of industries. Sadly, there are no easy answers and it does not look to be getting significantly better anytime soon.
Have price increases or product shortages changed how you eat/cook?...what would a barbecue restaurant be without smoked meat?
“I’d love to take brisket and ribs off the menu, but I can’t,” says Smokecraft Modern Barbecue pitmaster and owner Andrew Darneille. A year ago he was paying $3.83 per pound of USDA prime grade brisket. That price has nearly doubled to $7.38 per pound. St. Louis-style ribs are worse. A year ago he was paying $2.60 per pound. Today they’re $6.75.
“There’s a price point where these numbers begin to break and people stop buying them,” Darneille says. “We see it every time we make an adjustment to the menu." He’s selling a full rack for $45 when he really needs to be charging closer to $60 to be sustainable. “Each rack of ribs is 3.25 pounds so you’re talking about $22 per rack before I rub it, love it, and smoke it.”
Even though most pandemic-related restrictions that strangled revenue are lifted, Smokecraft is still losing money every month. “We’re doing everything we can to stay in business, and it’s incredibly deflating and discouraging when you get emails and complaints online about how it’s overpriced,” Darneille says. “We don’t want to charge this much.”