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Evansville restaurants, business owners deal with rising food costs

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — We’re all feeling the pain of rising costs, but the problem goes twice as deep for businesses owners.

They are paying more in their personal lives, but are also paying more to run their business, and therefore are making less profit. 

We spoke with Steve Bennett of the Cork ‘N Cleaver, Cindy Vescovi of Vescovi Catering and Jeff Wheeler of Great Steak in Eastland Mall to see how they’re coping.

How have your costs increased?

Bennett: Prices have gone up dramatically. Meat prices and paper goods have skyrocketed, and labor is higher too, especially now that we have to station a person to serve the salad bar. It’s harder on smaller restaurants. Large chains are making more profit because they sign contracts with the food service companies and the prices get locked in for a year or two years.

The Cork 'N Cleaver is just a couple blocks from Green River Road but is far enough from traffic to seem peaceful.

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Vescovi: The prices on some things have almost doubled, like beef tenderloin. And paper products – in my business I try to use high-quality paper and plasticware and it’s extremely high. It’s really high. And with energy and gas costs it is very difficult. 

Wheeler: My weekly order cost has almost doubled. Paper products are so expensive. Napkins have more than doubled from around $30 a case to about $65. Aluminum foil is well over $120. And the supply issues are across the board. For two weeks I couldn’t order steak, and I haven’t been able to order our 7-inch bread. The franchise overnighted me some from another store to get through. That means if I can’t get something on the truck, I’m spending my time and gas driving from GFS to Sam’s to find it, and I’m also going to pay more.