PHOENIX – A local restaurant chain is raising prices after their suppliers doubled their prices on some of their ingredients.
Burrito Express, an Arizona-based Mexican restaurant, announced plans to raise prices after its suppliers started charging more for items like chicken and carne asada.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, menu prices are up 4.6% nationwide since last year.
In addition, the food-away-from-home index rose 0.8% in July, the largest monthly increase since February 1981, according to the ministry.
“Six to eight months ago, my brother and I just sat there and thought, ‘This business is ruining it,'” said Angel Marin, co-owner of Burrito Express.
“It’s just gone downhill,” he added.
A 40-pound box of chicken went from $ 40 to $ 80, according to a tweet posted by Marin. Meanwhile, a pound of carne asada jumped from $ 3.25 to $ 6.
“The food costs are insane,” he said.
“Can’t get repairs, nothing can be fixed and if you do it will cost you an arm and a leg,” added Marin.
Marin said he also paid employees more and, in some cases, offered them bonuses. However, he said some applicants turned down jobs because they made more money from unemployment.
“Why go to work when you could stay home … and make more money,” he said.
Marin told ABC15 that he offered a decent wage and an opportunity to advance in the company.
“I was built differently, some of us were built differently,” he said.
“People today – why go to work when you can stay home and make the same money,” he added.
The company told ABC15 it plans to charge about 35 cents more per burrito.
Marin admitted sales are still good, but the company’s profit margin has plummeted. He said small businesses are important because they support the local economy and community through donations and sponsorship.
“We won’t be able to do something like this if we’re not here,” he said.
Marin said the rise in costs has slowed plans to build new restaurants. Still, he hopes to open a few more locations in the near future.