Maine restaurant shortens opening times due to food, burger shortage

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  • Brady’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, has cut its hours because it doesn’t get enough food.
  • The owner said the suppliers are raising prices and replacing some orders.
  • “If you order an 8-ounce patty, they’ll send you a 2nd,” she said.

The owner of Brady’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, says delivery bottlenecks have forced it to cut its opening hours.

“Our grocery supply chains have become very sketchy,” owner Jennie Mitchell told Insider.

The restaurant now closes an hour earlier each day and also closes completely for an additional day each week Stand registration reported first.

Mitchell said the US labor shortage did not hit the restaurant directly – most of its employees had been there for years – but it disrupted supply chains, creating a “ripple effect”.

Continue reading: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor shortage with tools to help franchisees hire or automate restaurant staff

Mitchell said she hadn’t gotten pineapple juice for about three weeks during the summer and that some of her orders, like salad dressing, were still being replaced with other items of lesser quality or different size she had ordered.

“Meat, they do things like when you order an 8 ounce patty, they send you a 2 just to get you the product in the door,” she said.

In addition to shortages and substitutions, Mitchell said food prices had risen across the board and that beef in particular had “gone through the roof”. In June, beef cost 13.2% more than in February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“The food industry is about almost anything,” said Mitchell of rising prices. “It’s spinning, you never know what it will be.”

As a result, restaurants in the US have increased their menu prices. The owner of Manville Pizza in Manville, New Jersey, told Insider that he had to raise menu prices on chicken wings by more than 50%.

“Ultimately, it has to go to the consumer,” said Mitchell.

The supply chain disruption comes as tourists return in droves.

“We haven’t seen such crowds in Boothbay Harbor since 1976,” Mitchell said during the bicentenary. “You don’t get a hotel room in this city.”

Brady's Maine restaurant is packed with diners

Mitchell said Boothbay Harbor hasn’t been this busy since the bicentennial.

Jennie Mitchell / Brady’s Restaurant


“It’s a good problem,” she said, but explained that she had to adjust Brady’s opening hours to ensure that the food supply could meet the growing demand.

“I’d rather upset people a little on the front end” and not put customers, rather than find out they don’t have enough food after ordering, she said.

Brady is one of the lucky ones. Mitchell said three other restaurants in Boothbay Harbor closed “directly due to a lack of staff.”

A third of former hotel employees said in a job list poll that they would not return to the industry. In addition to rising food costs, the shortage of labor means that some restaurants are shortening opening times and increasing menu prices.

Do you have a story about how your company is responding to the lack of manpower and ingredients? Email this report to [email protected]


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