Even a year later, restaurants are struggling with burgeoning grocery bills.

Many have had to increase prices, some have had to adjust their menu, and others still are at a loss for how to keep afloat in the rising tide markups. 

Ever since the pandemic restrictions were lifted and the populace was allowed to enjoy dining out again, local restaurants have been working hard to provide the dishes people love. This task has been challenging, with prices for many ingredients seeing exorbitant increases and low availability. 

For John Gannitsos, owner-operator of Akropol Family Restaurant, it's been a balancing act between continuing to provide the dishes people have come to love and affording the ingredients. 

John at Sidewalk Days, in the sun out front of his establishment, serving a customer a free snack during Side Walk Days 2022.John at Sidewalk Days, in the sun out front of his establishment, serving a customer a free snack during Side Walk Days 2022. (photo by Hayden Michaels)

Recently, he was able to knock down the price of salads by a few dollars. This was due to lettuce's finally coming down in price, only to see dairy and other products shoot sky-high. 

"All the big guys are just throwing caution to the wind," said Gannitsos. They're just raising prices. For cheeses, they just upped it, and they're upping it again."

One item that Gannitsos exemplified was canola oil. A year ago, he was able to order one unit for roughly $30. Today, he is ordering each unit of canola oil for $50.

"We go through like six of them a week," said Gannitsos. "You add up those costs, and that's just one item. Everything else is up 10 per cent. Coffee is easily up 10 per cent."

Gannitsos isn't alone in his struggles here in Swift Current, with Mani Nanda, owner of the K-Motel Family Restaurant, also feeling the press of prices. 

"Even labour went up too," Nanda pointed out. "So everything went up. I don't think it's going to go down. It's not going to be normal prices again."

Nanda is certain that the menu at the K-Motel will have to be adjusted, with at least a dollar more on most items.

"In that way, we can survive; otherwise, it's very, very hard to run the restaurant."

Nanda has had to work many 12 or 13-hour days, trying to manage the slim margins they now operate by. He said for many; the work is too much.

"Lots of my buddies already closed down their restaurants in Regina because labour went up, plus all the groceries went up," explained Nanda. "He cannot say it's a normal price. Even if you calculate for the paper napkins, dinner napkins, laundry detergent, everything, for the full operation restaurant, it's very hard if you don't increase the prices."

For Gannitsos, the cost of the struggle doesn't stop at the kitchens. Services like supply deliveries and garbage pick-up have also eaten at his operational bottom line. 

"It's to the point right now where they just keep on raising prices," said Gannitsos. "The costs of [transport fees], my garbage has gone up in the last two years $300 for every month. That's because of diesel, the cost of travel time, and all that stuff."

The price hikes will continue for the foreseeable future, with neither business glimpsing a light at the end of the tunnel. They will continue to adjust and readjust to the circumstances, endeavouring to persevere through these challenges.