DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Restaurants in the Miami Valley that were finally seeing some recovery from the pandemic are now getting hit by inflation.

Restaurant managers said it’s been hard to keep up with the constant price increases, and that’s affecting what they have to pay for supplies and what customers have to pay when dining out.

“Before it was every month we would sit down and go over everything, but now it’s changing so rapidly that it’s like a weekly thing we have to keep up with,” Salar General Manager Brandi Perrine said.

Perrine said as the price of gas has gone up, she’s noticed the number of guests in the restaurant have gone down, and they’re spending less too.

“People are like, OK, I really got to rein in my spending, and going out once a week, twice a week to treat myself is not going to work anymore,” Perrine said.

Barker said restaurants usually have a profit margin of about 5 to 7%. Now, some restaurants are making single digit to no profit margin.

“The numbers are just kind of mind-bending,” Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) President John Barker said.

The ORA estimates aggregate food costs are up nearly 20%, while menu prices have increased by 7%

“It’s easier for some businesses to do that, particularly if you’re talking about an $80,000 car and you got to pass along another $2,000, you know, people might not even notice that,” Barker said. “But they do notice when your hamburger goes from $9 to $10 or when your cup of coffee goes from $2 to $2.50.”

Corner Kitchen is doing whatever they can to avoid raising their prices.

“We know everything else is going up for them, so we’re hoping if we keep it steady, they can go ‘OK, we can count on them to be that,'” Corner Kitchen General Manager Kelly Bird said.

Bird said as a new restaurant, inflation is also making it a challenge as they try to establish themselves in Dayton.

“It’s hard when to nail down prices and nail down everything because it keeps changing every day,” Bird said.

Despite inflation figures, Barker said restaurant sales across Ohio the past four months are up, and it’s credited to making it past the omicron variant wave and entering the summer months. Barker said sales haven’t shown signs of softening, but the ORA continues to watch the data as prices change.