Massachusetts Restaurants Face Supply Chain Issues and Rising Food Costs

BOSTON — Restaurants that have battled the pandemic are now facing supply chain issues. Additionally, the Massachusetts Restaurants Association says that on top of all the shortages, wholesale food prices have risen 17% since April of last year.

“What we were able to get last week, we may not be able to get next week,” said Andy Husbands, owner of The Smoke Shop BBQ. “It could mean the cheese I use for my mac and cheese – it’s a very specific cheese – it could mean the containers we pack to go with it. It’s really difficult.”

He says every week it gets harder to run his five Smoke Shop BBW restaurants as supply chain issues continue to cause a shortage of labor and a shortage of product.

Stephen Clark, chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, says the 17% increase in wholesale food prices is the highest in a long time.

“This is the biggest increase in wholesale food products in nearly five decades,” Clark said. “Eggs are up 220% year over year. Butter is up 51%.”

Alex Morris, the operations manager of the Barking Crab in Boston, explains that due to rising costs, they had no choice but to increase some of their prices.

“The things we have to have for lobsters and seafood, we just had to raise our prices a bit to account for the higher prices,” Morris said.

Another problem? Food vendors point out that there is a lack of truckers.

“You have these supply issues. On top of that, you have fewer truckers than ever. I think we have 50,000 trucking positions open across the country.”

Overall, Morris said she’s grateful the customers who walk through their doors are understanding.

“Overall, a lot of people are getting it right now because they’re struggling to get the food themselves.”

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