Labor and food prices continue to rise across the country, and in one California county, more businesses are making the difficult decision to make significant changes to save money.
Three restaurants in the California city of Bakersfield have announced that they won't be open on Mondays, effective immediately.
“We wholeheartedly really wanted to tough it out, we really just wanted to make it work,” one local restaurant representative said.
The Bakersfield Pizza Company, a restaurant in the city called Vida Vegan, and another called Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila said they will close for that day each week to save money.
Between the rise in food prices, production issues, and staffing problems, co-owner Alejandro Ocampo said all three of his restaurants are struggling to afford products.
“A lot of times it would be like we couldn’t get a hold of pork belly, which we use a lot of here, and to-go containers. For some reason this past week, heavy cream we’ve had to outsource it from somebody else.”
Ocampo said that the price of meat is rising. Where once steak was the most expensive and could be replaced by chicken or pork, now chicken and pork are just as expensive. Especially products for their vegan menu items.
“A slice of regular, a pack of American cheese is $4 or something. For a pack of vegan cheese, you're looking to pay $7 or $8, it's almost double.”
So, many, including some in this small California town, are doing what they think is best, to close on the slowest day of the week. “Monday was the best option, it was the day we had the least staff working, it was a day where our sales were the least.”
“We just needed to take one day to reset and get ready for a positive week starting Tuesday.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, increases over the last year have included:
- The cost of food has increased by 7%
- Fruits and vegetables by 5%
- Dairy products by 3.1%
- The largest increase was meat, poultry, fish and eggs by 12.2%
Ocampo said staff members are adjusting and say they are waiting to come back to work.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with the people that come and support us. The community has been amazing at all of our restaurants, we just want to be able to provide a better product and a better atmosphere.”
Staff at Camino Real Staff say now that ‘Margarita Mondays’ will no longer be happening, they are now promoting their ‘Taco Tuesday' promotion to start off the week.
This story was originally published by KERO in Bakersfield, California.