Shortages from the restaurant point of view

RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

This is an article to take some time to ponder.

An interesting quote.

When it comes to food and materials, when will the supply chains return to something resembling normal? That has a lot to do with how the pandemic — and climate change, along with so many other moving pieces — plays out. Which is to say, no one really knows yet. Adam S. Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, told the New York Times that when it comes to the material shortages and supply chain disruption, “There is a genuine uncertainty here,” and that challenges could persist for “another year or two.”


  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    That is a very well-written article; gives some great insight into the restaurant sector, and by extension, the economy overall. This is certainly a new era, when we all need to be as resourceful and adaptable as possible.

    Everything is so unpredictable. I've just been through the car-buying process, and it was crazy. My 20-year-old Chevy S-10 truck suddenly died a terrible death; my mechanic wasn't sure whether he could even get it running again and it would cost several thousand dollars to try. So I went hunting for any functioning used vehicle at a reasonable price--which is a contradiction in terms around here right now. There are no small trucks of any kind available, and I'm too short and arthritic to be able to climb into the ridiculously overpriced big trucks that are on the market.

    The used-car market is so totally insane that it forced me into looking at new vehicles. Big surprise. Though their stock is very limited, the local car dealers are hungry for business and willing to make deals. Prices on most new vehicles, around here at least, are still at or close to pre-pandemic levels. I hadn't really wanted a compact SUV, but that ended up being the best deal available. The dealer had just received a surprise shipment of a dozen Buick Encores (and he only had about two dozen other new vehicles on the lot all together), So I ended up with a 2022 Encore at a very good price, good warranty and 0%APR. I figure that at least it will bring a decent price when/if something better suited to homestead life becomes available at a reasonable price again.

    I think that pretty much sums up the state of the economy overall--unpredictable, volatile, unbalanced. We just have to stay open to and aware of all possible options, try to stay informed, and make the best choices we can.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe We just went through the same thing with my daughter. She just graduated and got her first teaching job and needed a car that would pass emissions. Hers had an emission code that kept the check engine light on & we could get fixed anymore. We thought it would be easy to find her a used car but like you were shocked at the prices. Like you we decided to look at new cars. Here some dealers jacked the prices up as much as 7k over the msrp on the window!! The least we found was 3k over. SHOCKING!!! All because of the chip shortage. We were at the dealer with the 3k mark up and people were offering even more money over that because they only had one car of the type several people wanted!!!

    We ended up finding her a Nissan Sentra at CarMax a couple years old with 32k miles but it was still way too much. But she needed a car and was excited to get it.

    Funny but not funny while we were looking my husband found our exact car which is 5 years old for sale for more than we paid for ours 5 years ago brand new!!!!

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 Now I'm not sure whether to be more surprised that the new car prices in my area are so low, or that they are so high in yours. The market must be as crazy as we think it is, varying greatly from one place to another. I'm about 80 miles east of the outskirts of Kansas City. There is one road just beyond the city limits that is locally famous for being lined with car dealerships. Prices there, new or used, are just as outrageous as those you describe. But in the small towns closer to me, the new car prices for the few cars they have in stock, are generally a little below msrp. And while they aren't much willing to dicker on those prices, they are willing to throw in extended warranties and other perks to make a deal.

    Used car prices are off the charts here--used full-sized trucks around here start at $40,000--for used!!! There are no small trucks available at all. When I decided to give up on my old Chevy S-10, one of the mechanics offered me $800 for it--a broken-down, beat up old truck with well over 260K miles on it, needing over a thousand dollars just for the parts alone to get it running again (and given the parts shortages now, it may take months to get them!). And he's convinced he can fix it and make a profit.

    In my used-car search, I found that individuals, convinced their vehicles have suddenly turned to solid gold, were usually asking higher prices and less willing to dicker than the dealers. I came across two used Buick Encores. One, a 2019 model at a different dealership, was priced $800 over what I paid for the new 2022, though he was willing to dicker a little, The other, a 2016 model owned by an individual, was priced about $1200 over what I paid for the 2022, and he was not willing to dicker at all. And with the 2022 I got a 7-year warranty, 0% apr and a few other perks! I never thought to see the day when it would make more sense to buy new rather than used.

    It just goes to show what a crazy, complicated mess the market is--upheaval caused by actual shortages and supply system problems, varying local conditions, and probably a whole lot of human error and human greed at every level.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe I'm in Metro Atlanta. Yes, it sounds like you got a pretty good deal like my daughter considering the circumstances.

    I saw a post on Telegram where someone asked a car dealership if they were getting new cars in and he was told the plant had closed down.

    Scary times we're living in!

    Sorry @RustBeltCowgirl for highjacking your thread.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @RustBeltCowgirl I heard recently that KFC in Britain had a chicken supply shortage and had to close some stores. More to do with Great Britain leaving the EU- Brexit. That means there are not enough chicken producers in GB, who would have thought!

    @MaryRowe & @kbmbillups1 as far as used cars prices goes, Australia has also seen a surge. If I was looking for a cheap, economical run about, normally I would be looking in the $4000-$6000 range. At the moment $10,000-$12,000. Crazy prices.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No problem. I put info out to get people to discuss things. if it drifted a little, that's okay by me.

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 576 admin

    We are even experiencing this here at TGN. The supply chain has been seriously broken!

    Sadly, many customers from all industry, are not as in tune with this as we are and therefore, getting a lot of negative feedback. Not even realizing it's out of the hands of the business!

    We've had to compromise our values for product packaging to accommodate for the shortages. It's either that...or we turn the lights off and retreat into the shadows!

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are lots of restaurants closing around me because of shortages. Some of them can't get supplies. Some of them are experiencing worker shortages that make it impossible to run. We really are in unpredictable times where we need to be prepared for drastic changes.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    The restaurant shortages that are affecting our area don't have too much to do with the supply chain. It is a shortage of workers that has some restaurants opening later and closing early or closing for one or two days a week. A few are doing take-out only due to a lack of staff.

    We don't seem to be seeing the same shortages overall as I have heard about in other parts of the world. Certainly nothing as bad as in Pennsylvania where I understand that liquor sales have been limited to two bottles per customer, even restricting what restaurants and bars can purchase. Although, I did hear about one distillery here in BC being unable to get glass bottles for packaging.

    As to the used car market, we just had to purchase a new (used) car. We found a similar rise in prices since the last time we bought a car. Our last car was a 2009 which we paid $4500 for about 2 years ago. Now those same 2009 cars are going for $7000 - $10,000. But we did notice that if you are shopping in a big city (where there is a better selection than our rural location), most of the cars are automatic and we found that standards are much cheaper. We found one on a dealers lot for $8000 for a 2012; it had been on the lot for several weeks simply because it was a standard. He said they had several people interested but couldn't drive a standard. We passed on it as it had a bit of rear end damage, though. Later that day we found a 2013 for $7900 in excellent shape and bought that one.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We have many restaurants that are limited in hours due to shortages in workers. I never thought of them having supply issues but I did wonder how difficult it must be to order supplies when you never know if you will be totally open or shut down due to lack of workers

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    The restaurants here are having a shortage of workers. Some have cut back hours and some are not open as many days. It is sad for the business owners.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I am afraid that the shortages and lack of products/materials is only going to get worse before it gets better. When you see the ports of entry backlogged with container ships just sitting idling in the ocean waiting for their turn to unload on both coasts you know that there is a LOT of material not being delivered. Then add on top of that the lack of truckers to carry the loads and you have another issue. Then add on top of that the major delivery companies (FedEx, UPS, and USPS) being so backlogged due to staffing/vehicle shortages you have a pretty big mess on your hands. I know I have at least 4 packages being held hostage in a FedEx facility located 60 miles from me. I was told by FedEx that they are still on a truck that hasn't been processed yet and that they are experiencing staff/vehicle shortages to process them. My thought is then re-route them to a facility that can make the deliveries but that isn't how they work.

    As for my rural village in Ohio, with a college (normal population under 6,000, add students 2-3 thousand) we have three bars, two Chinese, two Mexican and one Italian restaurants, plus a Subway, Taco Bell and McD's. The Italian restaurant has closed temporarily (?) due to staffing issues, the two Chinese restaurants, run by families, are on limited hours and limited menus, the Mexican restaurants seem to be doing okay but they also sell liquor. The bars have never slowed down except when the college is not in session. The three fast foods are still on limited hours and sometimes limited menus. We are fortunate to have a small grocery store, but the products on the shelves can be iffy and I have seen brands I have never heard of before. Luckily, I shop mainly the outer walls (no processed food stuff) and grow my own vegetables. I used to buy sides of beef, pork and free range chickens but my big freezer died and I am not going to pay the current prices or wait times for a new one right now. I buy smaller amounts from a local butcher shop but even there the options and prices are crazy. I have learned to make a 4 pound piece of meat last for 3-4 meals supplementing with larger sides of vegetables. I am only feeding three people with smaller appetites so it works for us.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    On the flipside... my teen was looking for work. EVERY restaurant had "Now Hiring" signs up. He applied at one that we liked to get food from once in a while. They had posted signs about limiting hours due to shortage of staff. We soon found out why--they were paying only minimum wage. The guy that had been there two years was only up to $8/hr. and they apparently (according to my son) treated the employees poorly. He quit after a week to take a job at $10/hr. Some of the shortage is their own darn fault.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    @Paradox the state had a minimum wage last year that was $12/hour. This year the way is up to the employer and they are offering $14 or $15/ hour. I have not seen any particular wage that is mandatory.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Paradox Some business owners are caught in the middle. They are already having to raise prices because the cost of their inputs are going up. But they can't raise them too much, or consumers will stop buying. Keeping wages down is one way they can try to keep the business going.

    I would be surprised if any restaurant owner didn't lose money over the first 12 months of COVID lockdowns, ignoring any federal subsidies received.

    Given current labor shortages, though, there is no way that wages are not headed upward for any job that is in demand and can pass the higher costs on to the buyer.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Yeah, here it's just Federal, but the law of supply & demand is alive & well. When most places are offering 12-15, and even places for HSers are offering 9-11, who would take 7.25??

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    @Paradox the minimum wage went up to $12.75 except in rural counties it went up to $12. I didn't realize that was the case. I totally agree with you. Who would want to be making minimum wage.