Restaurants faced with rising costs ‘across the board’

PITTSBURGH — If you’ve noticed menu prices creeping up, it’s likely the result of rising costs facing restaurant owners.

“It’s literally everything, across the board,” said Justin Severino, owner of Morcilla on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

Not only is the cost of food rising, but supply prices are way up.

“You name it, delivery fees, rubber gloves, insurances,” he said. “Every single thing that we pay for, for the most part, to do business as a restaurant is up.”

Severino is also paying his employees more, and offering more benefits, in order to keep a full staff. The overall rise in costs has resulted in a reduced menu, with items costing the customer more.

“I think we’re operating at a smaller margin today, with higher prices, than we were pre-pandemic.”

That said, profits weren’t overwhelmingly high before the pandemic, he said, as the restaurant strives to have high-quality ingredients and service. They feel fortunate to have survived the shutdown, but it’s been a struggle.

Channel 11 has reported on the pandemic causing a number of shortages and supply chain issues, including for the appliance industry.

Severino said he ordered a new refrigerator eight months ago, and it still hasn’t arrived.

“Even the people we buy food from are struggling as bad as we are, even sourcing food is different,” he said, noting that their purveyors often don’t have truck drivers to make deliveries. I think a lot of people want to think that we’re back to operating the way that we were, but to lose a whole year plus of revenue for any business is really hard. We’re still climbing out of a really deep hole right now.”