Rising food costs, open positions plague restaurants trying to overcome pandemic
Restaurants in the Hudson Valley continue to face hurdles when it comes to staffing issues and inflation.
That's what Jeremy Phillips, with Zeus Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie, is dealing with.
"I said during the pandemic I would never complain if we ever got out of this. So, I hate to sound like I'm complaining, but it's tough to find people to fill positions," he said. "We see our brewing ingredients go up. I mean, if you were to go back six months ago, chicken wings a case was around $70. Now they're around $150 now."
Essie's, a restaurant a half-mile away, is facing the same problems.
"Like every other restaurant and business right now, it's staffing. We're all struggling trying to find staff to come back to work," owner Brandon Walker said.
His restaurant has four people on staff. He says they need seven.
"Hopefully we can get that before the fall comes. Cause the fall is historically really busy in the Hudson Valley. So, we're just trying to get ready for that boom that's going to come."
Both were able to keep the lights on during the pandemic thanks to federal help like Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney visited both establishments Friday.
"What we hope is that these disruptions are temporary, but the long-term economic growth is permanent," he said.
The restaurant managers are staying optimistic.
"You hear voices and laughter and life again after what we've gone through. So the good news is people are out and people are visiting restaurants," Phillips said.