The holiday season is a welcomed time of year at Silver Heights Restaurant, but rising costs cast a threatening shadow over colourful lights and tasty treats.
“November and December are our crucial months,” said Tony Siwicki, the restaurant’s owner. Between social gatherings and parties, he said he has more customers than other times of the year.
While this holiday activity is welcomed after years of pandemic-related challenges, there’s no comfort to be taken in its aftermath, he said.
“It’s scary. We have the costs coming at us every which way. Whatever you can buy has been raised substantially. With labour costs and protein and gas and paper, whatever it is it’s rising.”
These concerns are affecting both city and rural restaurant owners.
About 45 minutes south of Brandon is The Burning Bale.
Its owner, Germain Coutu, said it’s now cheaper for him to buy some items at the grocery store rather than a wholesaler.
“A few months ago, 10 pounds of green onions were almost $40. I could get that same 10 pounds of green onion for $10 or less at Superstore.”
Coutu says it’s a balancing act between raising prices and keeping customer happy.
“Restaurants have pretty much got their prices to where if they go any higher they’re going to price themselves right out of customers.”
Both Coutu and Siwicki are passionate about what they do, and are looking to find innovative solutions to keep their restaurants going.
Siwicki said, “Less hours, less staff, less menu items. You’re trying to be very creative with the kitchen and the hours and the floor to make sure it make sense to you.”
With his busiest season now into its final stretch, he said he’s staying optimistic about the future.
“You see the people coming in and the smiles. They’re having fun, they’re meeting people. That’s what keeps us going.”
— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche
Winnipeg-based business owner hopes for local support during holidays amid inflation
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