Local restaurants facing more challenges

Inflation, other issues cited by eatery managers

By ALAN DALE Managing Editor
Posted 9/18/22

Some chalk it up to the profession itself, but others dig a bit deeper into the reasons, but either way, a third Mexico eatery has shut its doors in just the last month.

Tacos N’ Tequila, …

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Local restaurants facing more challenges

Inflation, other issues cited by eatery managers

Posted

Some chalk it up to the profession itself, but others dig a bit deeper into the reasons, but either way, a third Mexico eatery has shut its doors in just the last month.

Tacos N’ Tequila, 621 East Liberty, announced that it was closing its doors earlier this month and that followed the cease of operations at Brick City Buffet and Grill and South Florida Style Chicken Ribs and Seafood previously.

Attempts to receive comment from Tacos N’ Tequila management were not successful.

Brick City Buffet closed late last month and South Florida Style Chicken Ribs and Seafood owner Gerald Nathan said his establishment closed its doors earlier in August due to not being the right culinary fit.

He said about a month in that the restaurant got complaints regarding the placement of the outdoor grill that originally was located directly behind the store.

However, complaints centered around the grill needing to be covered – which Nathan said he was doing.

Nathan ultimately had to move the grill a number of blocks away and at that point it didn’t make sense to keep operations going following the December opening.

Local restaurant owner and operator, Tony Kaufman, of the 581, 107 South Washington Street, said that a lot of issues have contributed to the stress in the business including the rising costs of food which he said has gone up 40 percent.

“The inflation going on makes it hard to survive,” Kaufman said. “You have high taxes, high everything – regulations, licensing, insurance. It’s not cheap to do business. When you put it all together, it’s very hard to maintain. There is a price plateau that we can charge for certain things.

“Eventually, people are going to be priced out of the market.”

Kaufman said that he has had a strong local support and that definitely helps any restaurant’s cause.

“The local support is pretty fantastic – I see some people a couple times of week,” Kaufman said. “But, you include the gas prices … if you work out of town, it used to take $25 to fill your tank and now it takes $50, you lose that discretionary income. Without as much discretionary income, you have to make choices. Do you put gas in the tank? It’s a shame this has all happened.”
He also added that grocery prices are also “through the roof.”

Mexico City Manager Bruce Slagle responded to questions for his reaction to the closings and what the city could do to bolster the potential to aid commerce growth.

“Local restaurants are an impactful gathering place for communities, where relationships form and memories are made,” Slagle said. “The restaurant industry fosters local job growth, supports local agriculture, supports other local businesses and keeps hard-earned money in our community. When customers choose to shop or dine at a local business or restaurant, they generate more economic benefits for our local community.

“However, business come and go for various reasons and national statics show that 60 percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year and 80 percent close within five years. Mexico is no different than other communities in that restaurants have come and go over the years.”

Slagle added that starting a restaurant, “Requires a vision, the perfect location and lots of capital. Staying in business demands savvy leadership, experienced staff, a delicious menu, and a little bit of magic. The restaurant business is hard work.”

Nathan said the issue is also about people getting out of the comfort zones.
“The community needs to pull together – from restaurant to restaurant,” Nathan said. “It’s tough for small businesses to thrive.”

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