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Norfolk restaurant owners grapple with record-high inflation rates

Near record inflation rates are causing "mom and pop" restaurants across the country to rethink the prices they're charging their hungry customers.

NORFOLK, Va. — Near record inflation rates are causing more and more "mom and pop" restaurants across the country to rethink the prices they're charging their hungry customers.

Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index for the month of June, showing that between June 2021 and June 2022, the average rate of inflation rose 9.1% in that 12-month window. It's the highest 12-month period since 1981. 

The average cost of food exceeds that mark at 10.4%, an increase felt by both individual consumers as well as the restaurant industry. 

“We used to pay maybe $52 for 30 dozen fresh eggs. They’re like $102 right now," Karle Stephan said, owner of Karla's Beach House, a small breakfast restaurant along Ocean View Avenue in Norfolk. "That’s a big difference.”

Eggs are just one example of a food category she's paying more for in recent months. Stephan said those price hikes have recently caused her to slightly increase the restaurant menu's pricing to offset those higher supply prices.

She said it's not an exorbitant amount that customers will necessarily notice at first glance, but it's an amount to make up the difference from what they used to pay. 

"Most of our customers understand, we're trying to work with them and keep it at a cost where they can afford to go out to eat but at the same time, we can afford to feed them," Stephan said.

Across town, it doesn't get much more "mom and pop" than Mom and Pop's Family Restaurant on Bayview Boulevard.

Thomas Dourdoumas, or "Pop" in this case, sees the same pressure on the food he's ordering.

“My cost is double, but my menu is the same," he said. 

Dourdoumas said he hasn't raised his menu's prices yet, because he's fearful of his loyal customers being turned off by the price change.

“I can’t raise the price because this is a neighborhood place, and if I raise them, maybe I lose them," he said. 

The CPI report also found the price of every major grocery store food group is up over the last year.  

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