What One Toms River, NJ Restaurant Owner Had To Say About Insane Cost Of Food
I'm sure you've noticed that things are getting more expensive.
Whether its your weekly grocery bill, filling up the gas tank, or going out for dinner one thing is clear.
Everything is a lot more expensive now a days in the Garden State.
I was taking a walk with my wife down the boardwalk last night and as we planned out our weekly meals we kind of came to the realization that it cost's just about the same to eat out every night as it does to buy a weeks worth of groceries.
And one of those is a much easier option!
Our grocery bill for the two of us, if you're curious, has gone from roughly 80 dollars a week to 130 dollars a week.
The cost of meat being the big culprit.
According to an NJ.com article the cost of chicken has rose about 300% compared to just a year or two ago.
In the article, Anita Amin, the owner of Masala Bay in Somerset NJ said her chicken cost has gone from 27 dollars for a forty pound bag of chicken to 108 dollars.
That's a crazy increase!
That got me thinking, how is inflation affecting other local Toms River restaurants, and what are they doing to try and combat that?
One of my go to spots for lunch is Capone's in Downtown Toms River.
Probably once a week or so I head over for a grilled chicken BLT wrap, it's so good.
Last week I figured I'd ask Jimmy, the owner of Capone's how he's dealing with these crazy prices and what he's doing to try and combat it.
So, How Is Inflation Affecting Toms River Restaurants?
Last Friday I walked over to Capone's to speak with Jimmy, and as I rounded the corner of the busy back dining room I heard a shout from the kitchen.
"Right back here, with you in a second, just gotta wrap this up!"
It was Jimmy, wrapping up some freshly grilled chicken in a hotel pan.
He said the first thing they do in the morning is grill up 40 pounds of chicken for the day, seeing how it's used in a lot of their dishes.
As Jimmy and I got to talking, he made it pretty clear that yes, chicken is getting a lot more expensive and that it's a balancing act to ensure that it doesn't all blow back to the customer.
Right now, Jimmy said his cost went from the low one hundreds a year or so ago to the low three hundreds for his chicken now.
I was floored.
That's nothing he said.
He continued to say that some restaurants that are getting specialty cuts of chicken are paying upwards of $500 per shipment of chicken.
Jimmy said that's not the only thing that's really changing.
The availability of paper bags, you know those white paper bags your hoagie comes in?
Those too are few and far between right now.
So How Are You Combating The Rising Prices?
Jimmy said that this whole thing is a balancing act; if he were to increase the price of say my grilled chicken BLT wrap to $15, that might drive me away.
However, increasing the price by a buck or so slowly over time is going to keep me coming back, while also helping to counteract the raising costs.
Fortunately he said a lot of regulars, and customers such as myself get it, and are happy to pay a small increase knowing they're getting a good meal.
What Can We Do As Consumers?
The easiest thing we can do is to A.) be patient and B.) keep supporting our local restaurant scene.
It's not Capone's fault that things cost more, nor is it Taco Tastic's fault, or Water Street Grills Fault, or Crave's fault.
They're just trying to continue to provide you with a good meal while trying to keep their doors open.
There Is Some Good News However
As Jimmy and I were wrapping up on Friday he did say (albeit jokingly) that there was some good news;
The cost of chicken wings soared from 42 dollars a box to 84 dollars a box, and has recently dropped down to 74 dollars a box.
It's not a huge improvement, but it's a step in the right direction right?