High gas prices, inflation mean fewer people are going out to restaurants

When it comes to high inflation and gas prices, one of the first industries impacted are restaurants, and we are now hearing from people in the restaurant industry on what they are dealing with.

It is no secret that the restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Then, restaurants made a big bounce back, according to Arizona Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri.

Now, restaurants are getting hit again.

"You can see a direct correlation from increase in price to decrease we see in the dining room," said Chucri.

Chucri said high gas prices and high inflation are contributing to a decrease in people dining out. It doesn't help that it is also summer, when many people leave Arizona for vacations.

"We are discretionary income. You will pay your mortgage first, your car, and whatever is left over, you will spend in a restaurant, so have we seen an impact," said Chucri.

The challenges restaurants face now is not passing the increase in prices down to the customer. However, Chucri said the good news is that restaruarnts are opening back up, and the amount of people moving here is only helping.

"We are appreciative to be in Arizona, a state that is growing, that is helping us people have to work, sleep somewhere and eat somewhere, and we are one of those top three things," said Chucri.

As for staffing shortages, Chucri says that has improved in a big way, but it has not been completely solved. He said the big ask is still asking for patience at restaurants, as they may have shortened staff and are dealing with supply chain issues themselves.

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