Local businesses facing ingredient shortages

NOW: Local businesses facing ingredient shortages

MISHAWAKA, Ind --- After months of pandemic shutdowns businesses nationwide and here in Michiana are still having trouble bouncing back. On top of employee shortages some are also facing ingredient shortages, driving up prices and even forcing local businesses to ditch or adapt popular menu items.

Experts said the worker shortage is hitting industry hard, stressing supply chains and leaving restaurants and some local bakeries struggling to keep key ingredients on their shelves.

“Morale is declining. Our leadership team you know you walk in and you go what’s it going to be this week. What is going to be missing? What are we going to be short? How are we going to fill in the gap?” said Russ Crawford, the Chief Operating Officer of Rise’ n Roll bakeries.

Crawford is no stranger to filling in gaps amid the pandemic. He said on top of keeping employees in their stores they’ve also been dealing with ingredient shortages since April.

The most recent refined sugar and cinnamon, putting the fate of their most popular menu item in limbo.

“We really can’t think of Rise’ n Roll without the cinnamon caramel,” said Rise’ n Role customer Melanie Perez.

“Our best-case scenario for the remainder of the year is maybe being out of cinnamon caramel donut two to three days a week. That’s our best-case scenario and that’s really sad because that’s our brand that’s our identity, added Crawford.

Crawford isn’t alone in the struggle, some other local restaurants said they have not only been having trouble getting some ingredients, but they are also finding it difficult to keep other supplies on their shelves.

“Depending on the week what you can and cannot get is different three weeks ago we couldn’t get Styrofoam containers. I have all the Styrofoam containers I need right but I can’t get cups, strawberry jelly is virtually non-existent at the moment,” said Stacey Wilson, the Owner of Yellow Cat Café.

“Some of the biggest issues have honestly been paper products making sure we get the rig cups and lids that we use on an everyday basis that you don’t even think of being important until you run out of it, added Jack’s Donuts general manager Matt Oakley.

With many suppliers and local businesses constantly forced to jump through hoops amid the pandemic they’re asking for one thing from all their customers.

“Patience because you know everybody is going through this with us and so that’s how we operate, said Crawford. “That’s how we roll.”

Now all those businesses told ABC57, suppliers have been pretty good about making alternatives available, and they said they understand everybody is doing the best they can.  

ABC57 did reach out to several suppliers for comment but we have not yet heard back.

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