BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Labor and food prices continue to rise across the country, and in Kern County, more businesses are making the difficult decision to make significant changes to save money.
Three Bakersfield restaurants - The Bakersfield Pizza Company, Vida Vegan, and Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila - have announced that they won't be open on Mondays starting immediately.
“We wholeheartedly really wanted to tough it out, we really just wanted to make it work.”
Between the rise in food prices, production issues, and staffing problems, co-owner Alejandro Ocampo said all three of his restaurants are struggling to afford the products.
“A lot of times it would be like we couldn’t get a hold of pork belly, which we use a lot of here, and to-go containers. For some reason this past week, heavy cream we’ve had to outsource it from somebody else.”
Ocampo said that the price of meat is rising. Where once steak was the most expensive and could be replaced by chicken or pork, now chicken and pork are just as expensive. Especially products for their vegan menu items.
“A slice of regular, a pack of American cheese is $4 or something. For a pack of vegan cheese, you're looking to pay $7 or $8, it's almost double.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the last year:
- The cost of food has increased by 7%
- Fruits and vegetables by 5%
- Dairy products by 3.1%
- The largest increase was meat, poultry, fish and eggs by 12.2%
They did what they thought was best, to close on the slowest day of the week. “Monday was the best option, it was the day we had the least staff working, it was a day where our sales were the least.”
“We just needed to take one day to reset and get ready for a positive week starting Tuesday.”
Ocampo says staff is adjusting and they are excited to continue to serve customers.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with the people that come and support us. The community has been amazing at all of our restaurants, we just want to be able to be able to provide a better product and a better atmosphere.”
The Bakersfield Pizza Company and Vida Vegan will now be open Tuesday through Sunday and at Camino Real Staff says even though ‘Margarita Mondays’ will no longer exist; they are happily inviting guests back to enjoy ‘Taco Tuesday’.