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Restaurants in Santa Maria suffering from supply chain crisis

Products are taking longer than usual to arrive with containers stuck in major ports.
Officials from the Port of Long Beach said this cargo surge is anticipated to continue into 2022.
Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 00:28:04-04

The menu at The Salty Brigade Kitchen in Santa Maria is not set in stone.

“Being able to write the menu and make my changes according to what I can get in," explained Mike McDonald, chef and owner of The Salty Brigade Kitchen.

Available items are written on rolls of craft paper because of product delays, which makes it easier to change things around.

“They say it comes Wednesday, and it comes Thursday, and you get shorted on a lot of items,” said McDonald.

Fire and Vice in Santa Maria have resorted to buying in bulks.

“Instead of ordering one box, you have to order 10 boxes of a single lid,” added Kelley Pak, who works at Fire and Vice.

What business owners are seeing is a domino effect.

“It's about supply, it's about demand, and it's about the pandemic,” explained Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Ports are completely overwhelmed.

“Our imported beers are off in a cargo ship outside of Long Beach we have to order instead of seven kegs a week we have to order 50, just to keep them stocked,” said Pak.

In a statement posted about a week ago, the Port of Long Beach said the following:

"We are having capacity issues due to the unprecedented number of containers waiting to move off the terminals, while warehouses have little to no room to accommodate.”

“Also playing a role is that we are seeing strikes, we're seeing The Great Resignation, the big quit,” explained Susan Kline, an economics professor at Cuesta College. “We're seeing a shortage of truckers, so that's going to play a role at the ports.”

The Port of Long Beach said they are in need of extended hours of operation.

“We're not only working on the shipping side of things but engaging with state DMVs to get more commercial driver's licenses issued,” said Buttigieg.

Another impact on the supply chain is panic buying.

“With the shortage, prices are going to go up because that's how we determine who gets what goods,” said Kline.

Restaurants are already seeing that cost increase.

“A gallon of fryer oil is traditionally $27, it is not $56, gallon of mayonnaise is running at $13, $14 when it should be around $7,” said McDonald.

Officials from the Port of Long Beach said this cargo surge is anticipated to continue into 2022.