LUBBOCK, Texas — Local restaurants have been struggling with current prices increasing due to inflation. The cost of food and labor are on the rise and local restaurants here have been doing everything they can to stay afloat. Kelsey Erickson-Streufert with the Texas restaurant association said restaurants are seeing high prices due to the pandemic. 

“The pandemic really created these economic challenges that are persisting to this day, so costs are way up,” Erickson-Streufert said.

Erickson-Streufert said prices on ingredients are some of the highest they’ve seen in years. 

“Wholesale food prices have actually increased 15.2% year over year,” Erickson-Streufert said. “That’s one of the highest increases we’ve seen in decades and obviously hits restaurants and the public really hard.”

Joey Herrera, owner of La Chavena, near 34th and Avenue P, said he was used to running his restaurant with his wife on their own. After struggling for months, they were finally able to hire extra help. 

“…. lately, it’s really just been me and my wife. We’ve been having to do the cooking, the taking orders, the running out of food, all that good stuff,” Herrera said. “But luckily within the past few months, we have been able to find some really loyal employees and are really helpful.”

Erickson-Streufert said that as we all face inflation head on, restaurants need to stick together, no matter the size.

“At the same time, all restaurants are struggling, so our message to the industry is, let’s unite, let’s work together, independent chains, franchisees, we all have a role to play,” Erickson-Streufert said. 

Herrera said that having the community’s support gets them through hard times, and knowing they have the community behind them makes it worthwhile.

“That’s kind of one thing that really pushes us,” Herrera said. “Like I mentioned earlier, on those really tough days, we know that we have that support system, and we know that it’s going to get better, we’ll have better days.”