Food prices up more than 10% in June from year prior

Some restaurants are tightening their belts, others are passing on slight increase to customers

Photo from Big Oak BBQ

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chances are, you’ve noticed higher prices at the grocery store -- and on the menu when you go out to eat.

Inflation, when it comes to food costs, rose 10.4% in June from a year prior. It’s the largest increase in four decades.

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How are restaurants adapting? It varies. Big Oak BBQ, a family-owned restaurant on the Northside, says the higher cost of food is causing them to tighten their belts.

Prices are up across their board. They said the biggest cost is the price of meat.

“Meat prices so high and it’s hard to find everything, the products,” said owner Rita Mali.

But they know they’re not the only ones hurting. Mali said business is slightly down, and they don’t want to pass prices on to customers like Chris Dykes, who’s a regular.

“We’ve got five kids and two adults at the house. You’re going to spend $100 for dinner any which way you go,” Dykes said. “At least this way, you ain’t got to cook.”

Manager Sam Shrestha said the business is trying to bear the burden of the food cost increases.

“Still, we are the same price,” Shrestha said. “We didn’t rise the price, but it’s still, you know, very hard to survive.”

At Balla’s Caribbean Restaurant just off Lem Turner Road, manager Gala Brown says they’ve raised prices about a $1.25 on dishes in recent months because of the increased cost of food from suppliers.

“They say it’s hard for them to find the supplies. Like the meat and stuff, it’s hard for them to find it at a reasonable price,” Brown said.

She also says the price of meat is especially bad -- and there’s a lot of meat on the menu.

“Oxtail, curry goat, curry chicken, ackee and saltfish, jerk chicken,” Brown said.

But she said slightly higher prices aren’t keeping customers away.

Data shows the price of eating at restaurants is actually rising slower than the cost of food at grocery stores.

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I-TEAM and general assignment reporter