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Omaha metro restaurant owners face tough decisions amid food supply shortage

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 3:56 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Big changes could be on the way for your favorite restaurants as owners say they are facing supply shortages.

Ping Wang owns Ming’s Restaurant in Papillion. He says he is dealing with a huge shortage of products. Everything from produce to proteins, to the oil food is cooked in.

“Things we would order six or seven cases of, our suppliers are telling us we can only have two cases so it’s fair for everybody else,” said Ping Wang, Ming’s Restaurant owner.

Dear Customers, Many of you may be aware and maybe not. We are experiencing a major supply chain breakdown due to the...

Posted by Ming's Restaurant of Papillion on Monday, May 3, 2021

And on top of that shortage, prices for those hard to find products are skyrocketing.

“Meat prices have tripled. Oil prices, like we use three-gallon jugs of soy oil and it used to be $11.98 for a three-gallon jug. It’s $33.75 now,” said Wang.

Wang says his business is absorbing those extra costs as long as they can because they don’t want to raise prices their customers pay.

Other restaurants say they’ve already been forced to do just that.

“We did just go through a menu adjustment. We needed to. We kind of held off on doing it,” said Nicole Jesse, La Casa GM.

Owners say they have been told the entire food supply chain is having issues.

“One of the complaints that I’m getting from some of my vendors is that there are not enough people working at processing or picking produce and then just having delivery drivers,” said Jesse.

Owners are getting by, for now, by working with multiple vendors and suppliers.

“I’m on the phone more than I am here just trying to figure out what’s cost-effective and what’s not,” said Wang.

Wang says he has been able to substitute menu favorites when supplies run out. But, if things don’t change in the future, some of your favorite meals could temporarily be off the menu.

“Everything would be temporary until things get back to normal. So, if we have to take something off the menu or several things off the menu, I want people to know it’s just temporary.”

Restaurant owners say their suppliers are telling them chicken will soon be the most difficult item to find.

Owners say that’s a major concern and if those supplies do run out menus are sure to change.

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