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National average of prices still going up and affecting local restaurants

Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 09, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As Doug Levy supervised his employees cooking at his restaurant Feast, he watched as they used ingredients that have been steadily getting more expensive.

“Everything’s more right now and that means restaurants are going to be as well,” Levy told KGUN9 reporter Andrew Christiansen back in October.

Now, about six months later Levy said he’s still having the same problem.

“They’re still going up but they’re not going up as quickly,” he described about the ingredients he uses.

He said products like seafood, meats, produce and alcohol have all gone up the highest.

“This used to be something you could get for 40 dollars and change and it’s 72 dollars right now,” he said about a bottle of alcohol.

However, it’s not just his ingredients that distributors have raised the prices on. He’s also being charged for things he’s never had to pay for like gas surcharges.

With prices going down nowhere in sight, he’s had to raise prices on his menu a little bit.

“We’re in that difficult spot of walking a line between trying not to raise prices so much that it drives business away, but trying to keep our costs covered,” Levy said.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average prices throughout the United States went up .4 percent in February after going up every month since at least August of last year.

They say in a one year time period ending in February, prices went up on average a total of 6 percent.

Other restaurants like Charro Steak are also feeling the heat of prices going up.

While their executive chef and partner Gary Hickey has seen prices go up for things like lettuce, fresh fruit and poultry, he also usually sees less customers come in during April.

With less customers, he’s having to get creative and will soon be rolling out specials on dishes.

“Lower price entry items coming out for summer to kind of entice people to go out,” Hickey said.

While he said he paid less for meats around February, the price for meats are still going up and he’s having to search for different distributors.

“We’ve definitely had to do some footwork on our part to try to find some lower prices,” he said.

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Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing andrew.christiansen@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.