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Cleaning supplies, PPE taking toll on restaurants

Posted at 12:08 AM, Jul 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 01:10:25-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - It's still a busy time at Porky Butts BBQ, and like any restaurant that's open during this pandemic, they've had to adjust.

"Staff members wearing gloves and masks, we did wear some gloves in the kitchen but not necessarily in the front, and now that's a big push and the masks,” said owner Blane Hunter.

Hunter stocked up on things like masks and gloves, but with that came a new problem.

"We have a lot of new expenditures that we didn't anticipate that are hitting us,” he said.

Hunter says the price of the gloves he buys have gone up 125 percent. Masks are also more expensive now. Add that to the extra cleaning supplies, and Hunter is considering a few options including one he wants to avoid.

"We haven't raised our prices at all. We haven't passed anything on to the consumer, but at some point, we might have to just because it's affecting us,” he said.

Potential price increases are not a surprise to Zoe Olson with the Nebraska Restaurant Association. She says a lot of eateries already operate on thin budgets.

"About five cents out of every dollar is what they can keep. The 95 cents of that goes out the door, so now we're adding more to that so maybe they're keeping two cents instead of five cents. It's a lot of expense,” she said.

Olson says some owners have also considered a COVID tax instead of raising prices, something which the association is not in favor of.

"A 1 percent or a 2 percent of the bill and it would depend on the restaurant itself. But we have not encouraged that,” she said. “As a matter of fact, we've kind of discouraged that because it's just another tax that's added on."

Hunter is taking the wait and see approach but says your local restaurants need your help more than ever.