Supply-chain shortages cause challenges for local restaurant owners

Posted at 4:37 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 09:56:40-04

BOISE, Idaho — There are shortages affecting multiple industries right now and in the restaurant industry, many food items are hard to find and at times even harder to afford for locally-owned restaurants.

BBQ4Life decided to dramatically reduce its menu, rather than have a third or more of menu items unavailable.

“Our whole menu is built upon a few items that are sort of premium items. For our baby back ribs, we can get ribs but they’re about half the size and almost twice the cost,” owner Brad Taylor said.

The labor shortage also contributed to Taylor's decision. Taylor said he used to get two to three job applications a week in the summer without advertising, but this summer, the applications aren’t coming in and he’s looking to hire.

“We can’t get items and we’re short on employees," he said. "And if we get any shorter on employees with the previous menu, well then we can’t even make the stuff if we have it.”

Some customers have been letting Taylor know they’re not happy with the reduced menu, which went into effect around three weeks ago. Others are making the best of it, like Steve L’abbe who's been a regular at BBQ4Life since 2014.

“The quality level is still there, so I’m just going to go with what they have right now,” L'abbe said.

Taylor said most customers are supportive like L'abbe

“They are not only willing to support us but they help spread the word about it,” he said.

Taylor said the reduced menu seems to be sustainable to keep BBQ4Life in business. The menu items cost less than the old ones did, but there doesn't seem to be a big decrease in customers.