JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Even though inflation rates have decreased since the 40-year high experienced in June, Jackson restaurants are still struggling dealing with high inflation.
The consumer price index rose 8.3% in August, down from 8.5% in July and down from the 40-year high inflation rate of 9.1% in June.
While inflation has been slowly decreasing, Jackson restaurants have not yet felt any recovery.
“A lot of the prices that are on our menu have been the same for the eight years we’ve been open now, but we did have to raise prices. Proteins, especially dairy products, have gone up exponentially. Fifteen, 20% at least. In certain times of the year when there’s demand on specific types and cuts of meat, they automatically go up. Now, we’re seeing prices kind of stay flat at the higher level,” said Louis LaRose, owner of Lou’s Full-Serv.
When prices of goods increase, restaurants are forced to react, and what usually comes next is a decrease in their already slim profit margin.
“They’re gone. The 48 days or so of the boil water notice that we had, the inflation and the time of year, which generally gets a little flat with school going back, football season rolling into the fair. We slow down. Then when you don’t have the sales, your costs are up. You know, it’s a recipe for disaster,” said LaRose.
While Lou’s Full-Serv has been able to increase prices, some restaurants haven’t had the chance to.
“Restaurants try to adjust their menu prices. Some can’t. Many are apprehensive to raise menu prices because they’re fearful that they’ll lose customers,” said Pay Fontaine, executive director for the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association.
“You can’t raise the prices anymore because people either won’t eat out or go elsewhere. Eating at restaurants is a luxury. Basically, we’re an expendable expense for a lot of American families,” said LaRose.
As Jackson neighbors have heard many times before, your local restaurants are open and ready to serve.
“We’re here. We’re open. We’re serving the freshest best quality products that we can,” said LaRose.
“Right now, the best thing they can do is patronize their restaurants. That is the best thing they can do right now,” said Fontaine.