Arizona Restaurant Association Says Business Owners Face Struggles During Record Inflation

Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA), told The Arizona Sun Times on Tuesday that local businesses in the state are struggling under inflation.

“For us [the ARA], it’s really twofold. It’s not only inflation and what that means to supply chain issues, but it’s also gas prices. There’s a direct correlation between restaurant frequency and the increase in gas prices,” Chucri said.

He stated that he has seen consumers opt for faster, over-the-counter restaurants over casual sit-down establishments since the increase in gas prices. This, combined with the increased cost of supplies, doing business, and labor shortages, make a challenge for restaurants.

Moreover, Chucri asked for Arizona diners’ patience during this time while businesses are under strain.

“Your food might take a little longer to get to you. It might take a little longer for you to be seated, but we still want you there, and we value your business. We just ask for patience,” Chucri said.

KOLD News 13 reported that Tucson businesses feel the effects of historic inflation. Susanne Kaiser, the owner of Tucson Wings, who opened the eatery at the beginning of this year, said the high inflation is scary and that she has to use savings in order to not overprice customers. Similarly, Firetruck Brewing Company owner Taylor Carter has been cutting menu items and altering hours to avoid raising prices. He said getting supply shipments is harder with increased gas prices, and a labor shortage put him in a tricky situation.

Also, 12 News reported that high inflation rates affect more than just restaurants. The network spoke with St. Mary’s Food Bank, which said it gives food to nearly 1,200 families daily out of two locations, double the amount it normally serves. However, the organization relies on donations. More people need help because of rising prices, and fewer people are willing to provide the necessary provisions, so St. Mary’s has to stretch its giving among families in need.

As provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the last 12 months, the Phoenix inflation rate has risen 12.9 percent, food prices are up 9.3 percent, and energy prices have seen a 43.3 percent increase, largely due to increased gas prices.

Arizona Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) recently spoke on the House Floor, blasting Democrats and their policies that have caused Phoenix to have the second-highest inflation rate in the nation. While speaking, he said that inflation had cost working-class Americans over a month’s worth of labor.

“I need you to think about this, of how many days you’re working not to feed your family anymore, not to pay your mortgage or your rent,” Schweikert said. “If you lived in the Phoenix area, our inflation has been so high you worked for 57 days for free [since December 2020]. This is what Democratic policies did to you. Tell me this isn’t cruel.”

The Sun Times reported that a revenue report from Alignable showed that 47 percent of small businesses fear closing by fall 2022, up 12 percent from last year. Less than a quarter of small business respondents said they expect to make more money compared to last summer, and over 60 percent said this inflation is more damaging than COVID.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Steve Chucri” by Steve Chucri.


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