Executive chef from Charlotte restaurant group speaks on difficulty of raising prices due to inflation impact

The chef explained that the restaurant group doesn’t want to raise prices for customers, but has to in order to make money.
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:50 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Franke Jones’ job has been more difficult since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones is the executive chef for the Mason Jar Group, a collection of bars and restaurants in the Charlotte area.

He said he’s responsible for eight or nine different menus spread across a few different eateries in the group.

Jones explained that the pandemic has had him and his colleagues navigating customer restrictions and labor shortages, but the latest struggle has been the rising costs of certain foods.

He spoke to WBTV in an interview Thursday afternoon, explaining how inflation has impacted the restaurants in Mason Jar Group.

“When everyone started opening back up, we started seeing huge supply issues; cost increases across the board, factories couldn’t keep up, the truckers couldn’t keep up and so forth and so forth,” explained Jones.

He said that over the last several months, Mason Jar Group has had to pay more to get various items from its suppliers. Jones cited several examples of recent price hikes.

He said he’s seen a 31 percent increase in the price of eggs, a 25 percent increase in the price of canola oil, and a 48 percent increase in the price of lump crab meat.

“That’s tough to justify charging $18 for a crab cake to the guest, especially when they’re not used to it,” said Jones.

He also said that chicken wings were another popular item at one of Mason Jar Group’s restaurants that has become much more expensive to purchase.

“The 40-pound case was around $90. That jumped up to nearly $160. We have to be able to explain to the guest, ‘yeah this pound of chicken wings cost you $16. If you don’t order it, that’s fine. If you do, here it is’,” said Jones.

The executive chef said he and his colleagues are trying to enhance the dining experience at their restaurants to make up for steeper prices.

“One thing we’ve done here to try to combat it was elevate the food throughout the whole menu, do a different style of service, give the guest a value in other ways rather just trying to hide the increase of costs on our end by keeping the price the same,” said Jones.

The chef explained that the restaurant group doesn’t want to raise prices for customers, but has to in order to make money.

“If these markets are going to continue to change up and down, then we have to figure out a way to be just as flexible,” said Jones.

To learn more about the Mason Jar Group, visit it’s website here.

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