Area restaurants struggling to stay afloat as inflation hits 41 year high

MIAMI VALLEY — With inflation the highest it’s been since 1981, everything is costing more for business owners.

The president of the Ohio Restaurant Association said that on average restaurants operate on 5 to 7 percent profit margins.

First, the pandemic cut into those margins, now inflation is hurting bottom lines even more.

A little more than a year after it opened, Rye Toast in Miamisburg is now closed.

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“This is supposed to be the American dream but unfortunately, it’s a lot tougher to succeed these days,” Owner and Chef Tom Tiner said.

Tiner said inflation is to blame.

In the Ohio Business Associations’ latest business impact poll, the majority of businesses that responded said food and labor costs increased anywhere from 11 to 20 percent from last year.

“You can’t eat those costs and if you do and you make no changes to your business, your cash flows goes negative and you may have to close,” President of the ORA John Barker said.

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Barker said restaurants are still trying to recover from the pandemic and continue to struggle to find enough workers.

But Barker thinks inflation tops the list of problems these businesses face.

He suggests that restaurant owners adjust their menus by taking off expensive items or increase their prices.

In Dayton’s Oregon District a white paper covers the windows of the 416 Diner.

The business posted on Facebook it’s closing but did not give a reason.

Residents on their way to local restaurants shared how inflation is impacting them.

“We’re coming out, no matter what. Inflation or not, we’re coming out,” Maurice Henry of Dayton said.

Meanwhile, one man said he debated even going out because of how much it would cost him.

“We considered even coming out tonight not doing so just because of gas prices,” Korey Paul said.

Baker also said restaurants need to watch what other businesses are doing to stay open.

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