Shortage on Styrofoam impacts restaurants

Local News

LUBBOCK Texas- Throughout the many challenges restaurants have faced amid the pandemic, there’s been a shortage of Styrofoam products that have impacted their operations.

Chris Berry, President of the Lubbock Restaurant Association and managing partner at River Smith’s, said the problem has been going on for some time but has gotten progressively worse.

“It’s just harder and harder to find, you know, the run of the mill stuff,” said Berry, “Everything you can imagine from your standard form three compartment to take out plate to your 16 and 24 ounce phone cups.”

Berry said one of the big players for styrofoam cups decided they were not offering printed customized cups.

“So at first everyone shifted over to, you know, a standard white foam cup or whatever you could get, said Berry, “Since everyone has moved over to that, you just can’t get hardly anything. So just about anything you can imagine is on allotment.”

Jose Herrera, owner at La Chaveña, said when they first opened their restaurant a few months ago, they had enough supplies ready but noticed it’s been more difficult to find those supplies. Herrera, said they’ve been fortunate to have friends and family who make sure they have supplies.

You really got to try to dig deep, try to think of different methods and utilize those friendships that you have, said Herrera,” If you know people ask them. Maybe they [are] able to help you out or they’re able to lead you to somebody who can help you out.”

John Severyn, general manager of Mayfield Paper Company, said this supply issue is one that have not seen in a long time. Severyn said the shortage was impacted by a high demand in Styrofoam amid the pandemic and people not able to work.

“During the COVID crisis in the country, we saw a lot of food service establishments go through drive thru or takeout only,” said Severyn, “The plants obviously had issues with workers having COVID, so their manufacturing capabilities in many cases were cut by 50%, but volume increased by three to 400%.”

Severyn said they’ve been looking for products in states that no longer allow styrofoam to offer it to clients in Lubbock.

“We’ve been around 80 years and we’re going to get through this through the situation with our clients, said Severyn, “We’ve they’ve been really good and understanding in Lubbock here where they know we’re doing everything we can to get them product.”

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