The Sushiholic

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Restaurant Supply

North Texas restaurants ask for patience as they deal with supply disruptions, shortages

People who are venturing out to North Texas restaurants may notice some shortages. 

It’s not only staff who are in short supply, either. Local restaurants say they are still dealing with sourcing nightmares.

The restaurant owners and managers are hoping that getting this message out encourages customers to be more patient while they take on yet another challenge.

“What happened during COVID is the supply chain really shut down, not just shipping but the actual production is down in the U.S. right now,” said Gje Greene-Wallace, the director of marketing at Fish City Grill and Half Shells.

They are trying to keep up with the increasing number of customers who go through their doors all while trying to make up for a labor shortage and higher cost of imports. Now add to that a material shortage.

Factories and food processing facilities that shutdown during the pandemic are struggling to re-hire workers. Fewer workers on the assembly line means a decrease in the amount of a product that can be produced and shipped.

With consumers eager to dine-out again, demand is outpacing supply.

The Texas Restaurant Association said some of the items impacted the most are chicken, milk, coffee and cooking oil. 

Restaurants are not sure how long it will take to get back to normal.

“No one’s got a crystal ball, right? So, it’s going to be a while. This is something that has backed up throughout COVID,” said Greene-Wallace. “I think individual products, each thing will start to climb through. But for us with seafood, sometimes we have to wait for a whole new season. So, it’s going to be a while before we see all of it even out.”

Some spots are having to pull items from the menu. Others are passing along the added fees to customers. 

Emily Knight, CEO and president of the Texas Restaurant Association, says chicken production is down by four percent. That’s led to a wing shortage, which prompted Dallas-based Wingstop to get creative and market chicken thighs to consumers in new ads.

Cold storage is down too, she said.

“That’s going to have to take some time to work its way through the system. Couple that the ice storms that hit a lot of the production plants and you have much less supply in the channel,” Knight said.

Knight said she’s spoken with owners of Tex-Mex restaurants who are stunned by the price jump for the meat they use for popular dishes like fajitas. Skirt steak that used to cost $4.50 a pound is now $12 a pound, they told her.

The Texas Restaurant Association believes the state is on track to have the highest menu increases since 2008.