Temporary or not, inflation is rattling restaurants and broader economy

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2021-07-21 02:00:05

Then, some of his employees, no doubt noticing the banners touting $1,000 signing bonuses at other eateries, demanded higher wages. And his suppliers hiked the cost of chicken, beef and cooking oil.

Maguire’s costs rose so much so fast that he has had to rewrite his menu prices twice since March. Whether additional increases will follow depends upon a complex interaction of food supplies, labor availability and a shape-shifting virus.

“It’d be foolish for me to believe we’ve seen the worst of it,” he said. “I don’t want to let my mind think about this becoming a long-term deal.”

Neither does the Federal Reserve or the Biden administration, which both insist the inflationary squall will pass before it unhinges the recovery. On Monday, President Biden called rising prices “temporary” and said his plans for infrastructure spending and pro-competition regulation would drive prices down in the long run.

Consumer confidence readings, however, are sagging, and the unpredictable landscape confronting Maguire, 57, helps explain why some employers lack Washington’s confidence.

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