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'There is no choice': Inflation forcing business owners to raise prices
BATON ROUGE - Inflation is giving small business owners a run for their money with the cost of labor and materials going up at an unprecedented rate.
“There is no choice. We have to raise the prices and we have to pass it along to our customers," said Vasken Kaltakdjian, owner of the Serop's Express restaurants.
The price of food and materials starting increasing last May, he said, with the restaurant absorbing the expenses until it was unbearable. In August, he raised prices to try to keep up.
Six months later, he has to do it again. A paper sign at the checkout counter warns customers that menu prices will increase by 10 percent later this month.
“Between raising wages to employees and the price increase on all food and all paper product and janitorial products… I mean, we are getting choked," Kaltakdjian said.
Chicken, the most popular item on the menu, is getting more expensive by the day. Kaltakdjian said that compared to April of last year, the price has soared almost 110 percent.
"Whatever we buy on Friday, it’s different on Monday. That’s how it’s been since January this year.”
Businesses all over the nation are struggling just to manage daily expenses, and Kaltakdjian believes the problem will become much worse before it gets better.
“I think we’re about to get hit with much harder inflation than what we’re going through right now and we’ll see what happens," Kaltakdjian said.
He's just hoping his business will survive.
“It’s definitely not good. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We just hope we continue doing business," Kaltakdjian said.
The 10 percent price increase at all Serop's Express locations will begin Feb. 22.
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