DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Soaring beef prices are creating new challenges for barbeque restaurants that are going beyond higher costs.
With cattle supplies scarce, the quality of cuts is more inconsistent among buyers today.
“Now more so than ever, you have to be aware. You can’t just say how much is your brisket today and call the next guy,” said Juan Reaves at Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que in Dallas. “If I’ve got too much fat or if I have a poor quality cut, I’m throwing it away and that’s costing me a lot of money.”
Reaves said he has had to raise prices with beef costs nearly doubling in the last few years.
“There will be restaurants that won’t make it. I’m sure there will be restaurants that won’t make it. Just because of the prices,” said Reaves.
Costs are becoming a topic of discussion at barbeque franchises like Red, Hot and Blue in Dallas. Franchise partner Craig Collins has considered adding a surcharge to the menu for any beef product.
“I spoke with a couple of other franchisees and everybody is afraid to put ‘supplement charge’ or surcharge on the menu in fear of scaring off customers,” said Collins.
Knowing who is coming in the door, Collins said it is a reality that he thinks BBQ fans will understand.
“I think our customers want the quality. So if our sandwiches cost another 25 cents, they’re going to cost another 25 cents. That’s just how it is right now and I don’t see an end to it,” said Collins.
The higher prices for bovine are not expected to go down for another two or three years. That is the time it will take to replenish national beef supplies.
“We’ve been doing this so long, we’ll just have to weather the storm,” said Reaves.
With prices fluctuating, some restaurants have considered listing the current market price for certain beef products similar to what some eateries do with fish.
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