Economy

Supply chain shortages forcing BCS restaurants to get creative

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The last time you went to Wings ‘N More hoping to order some curly fries, you were probably served regular fries instead.

The restaurant told KBTX supply chain issues have them making some temporary changes, even to some of their most popular items. But they’re by no means the only spot in town forced to make adjustments.

“Everything from seafood, not quite as much beef products, but we’ve had some challenges with cream and cream products, butters, and pretty much everything from crawfish to salmon to crab,” Shipwreck Grill Owner Wade Beckman said.

Beckman is also the owner of Amico Nave, 3rd on Main Kitchen, and Admiral Catering. He says they’ve had issues really since the beginning of the pandemic. Beckman says the most consistent challenge has been with to-go and disposable items since so many people were ordering curbside pickup when it started, partially because it was the only option some restaurants were offering.

Lately, he says his restaurants are generally shorted on roughly 10% of the items they ask for on every order they place with their broadline distributors.

“It’s a little bit of a game to find out what you’re going to be shorted, and then what you can live without and what substitutions you can take,” Beckman said. “Some work, some don’t. Maybe go a smaller cut French fry or a larger cut French fry versus the one we use. It isn’t a big chance, but those are things we don’t like because we want to be so consistent. Every once in a while, you’ll come across something that’s quite literally just not cost effective to serve.”

Beckman says the biggest challenge that comes with the supply chain shortfall are the significant price increases on many items.

“Those papers, plastics, and resins that are so hard to get, some of them are up as much as 200% or 300%,” Beckman said. “We went up 12% on our prices in hopes that we wouldn’t have to stay there, but as the economy and inflation continues to do what it’s doing, we are actually in the process of changing out the menus with hopes that eventually we can lower them back down when our costs go back down.”

Beckman says he’s optimistic about the situation improving in 2022, but whether it’s just a few months or several remains to be seen. Until that happens, he says they just have to be tenacious in getting what they need.

“January is a slower month for all the restaurants, so we were hoping that would give the manufacturers and suppliers a chance to catch up,” Beckman said. “I think Omicron and how hard it’s hitting is going to have challenges and make that a little bit harder.”

Beckman says for some items, it’s just a matter of being patient until the price comes down since a lot of the costs are passed on to the consumer. He says blue lump crab meat is one of those products right now, and you’d be hard pressed to find a customer willing to pay $30 for a crab cake.

“Sometimes you just have to put it on hold until the price is reasonable to what people would be willing to pay,” Beckman said.

Written by Andy Krauss

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