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'Prices are up, it's hard to find products': Rising costs affecting local restaurants

Starting Wednesday, Wendy's House of Soul says daily menu prices will increase as well as catering prices, due to rising food, vendor and payroll costs.

MINNEAPOLIS — Inside Wendy's House of Soul, the smell of soul food and a few signature dishes fill the air.

"'The Nanny' is the number one seller named after my grandmother," said owner, Wendy Puckett. "It has greens, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese."

It's a  fixture at the restaurant, among others. 

"We're known for the soul roll, the combo cake and the Kool-Aid," she said. "The soul roll is our version of an egg roll, so it has all of our home recipes on the inside."

And for that perfect recipe, it's finding the right ingredients. "Things are getting expensive and some things are getting harder to find," she said.

Some things can be improvised, while others can't.

"So you have to just bite the bullet and buy it, like I can't improvise on soul sauce."

Forcing the business to post this note to customers on Facebook:

"Over the past two years our costs of doing business have increased substantially as we have been affected by increased vendor costs, payroll costs, etc. We continued to leave our pricing and fees in place trying very hard to not have to pass this along to you, our loyal customers. The time has come, effective Wednesday, July 6, 2022 our daily menu prices will increase as well as our catering prices. We are truly grateful for the continued support from all of you during the craziness of the last few years. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing us to SOUL you over the last 8 years! Continue to watch our Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for the latest news and specials!" 

"It's very, very difficult," said Puckett. "We had to figure out what was best for our business and with our demographics, how we were going to survive."

But she's not alone. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall food prices increased by 10.1% from May of 2021 to May of this year — the highest increase in more than four decades. 

That's along with menu prices increasing 7.4% in the last 12 months, according to the National Restaurant Association.

This is forcing some restaurants to close their doors. "Prices are up, it's hard to find products. A lot of businesses on the back side that people don't even see have gone out of business," said Puckett.

While Wendy says she's standing on her family, food and faith, she's asking customers to continue to support. 

"There's great people over here. There's amazing people, businesses over here and we are going to make it," she said. 

For more information on menu items, hours and the location of Wendy's House of Soul, visit the website here

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