Tennessee restaurants face major supply chain issues

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Adapt, cope and improvise are three words Middle Tennessee restaurateurs hear these days with the phrase “only the strongest will survive.”

This is what many conclude as the supply chain crisis and labor shortage have crippled many players in the service sector.

The Country Café, located on Murfreesboro Road in Nashville, usually keeps the place full even between breakfast and lunch. But, one thing director Jimmy Elkins can’t guarantee these days is what will appear on the delivery truck.

“You know, you never know,” he said.

And it’s not just about food products. It’s everything from paper products to the main course. “For example, some weeks we were two or three weeks away, we couldn’t have chicken, we couldn’t have catfish. So we just need to let it be known. Our customers are quite understanding, ”said Elkins.

In addition, the costs are increasing: “It’s the cost of food and everything has increased a bit in general. So yes, since 2019 it’s one of more than double I would say.

Perhaps a sign above the restaurant prep line sums up sentiment on the current situation. It reads: “Your bad planning shouldn’t be my emergency. “

It’s a challenge without a doubt, and a sign of troubling times in the supply chain.

And it’s the same story pretty much everywhere, like Franklin’s new market entry, Tamale Joe’s.

Owner Joe Morales has launched a new restaurant concept with a number of unexpected challenges.

“It’s the downstream thing. Prices increase. The challenges of sourcing and finding manpower, ”said Morales,“ You know, all of those things come into play. ”

He added, “The most creative person will be, or I guess the most creative company will be the one that stays standing at the end of this.”

At Tamale Joe’s, it’s about adapting to the climate. “Most of our friends in the restaurant business right now say that when a truck pulls up you never know what you’re going to get. “

Morales continued, “Things have been out of stock for months. The prices on some things are through the roof. So you have to make do with something that may not be quite what you intended to serve or display.

For Morales, it’s simple – no excuses. Customer appreciation and a 100-year-old secret tamale recipe keep them going.

“Well, that’s the secret. It was my grandmother Kasia who used to say that it’s the love behind it. It’s a labor of love, and she blesses everyone. I think it was his secret that made them come out as good as they came out and, you know, we’re chasing that, ”Morales said.

Many have indicated that the supply chain crisis is here for the long haul, and in the restaurant business, it will undoubtedly put any owner to the ultimate test.

News 2 continues its in-depth coverage of the stressed supply chain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep up to date with the latest information as we head into the holiday season with our reports “Supply chain SOS”.

Unfortunately, in the end, some of our favorite restaurants may disappear, as may the many products that we expect on our store shelves.


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