Andrew Gruel, the executive chef for upscale restaurants and bistros such as Big Parm, Butterleaf, Two Birds, Lolo's Tacos and Calico Fish House, said American families are feeling the pinch of high inflation and soaring food prices during the Thanksgiving holiday.
"This year ... it's actually less expensive to go out and eat at a restaurant ... than stay in and prepare your own Thanksgiving meal. That's crazy!" Gruel told Newsmax Thursday afternoon, while appearing on "The Chris Salcedo Show" with guest host Benny Johnson.
The executive chef said the Biden administration wants the public to believe that food prices — particularly proteins, such as turkey — have increased only 20% to 25% from previous years.
"But anyone who's been to the store knows it's significantly higher," said Gruel, who estimates that some food items have gone up 75% to 100% during this period of high inflation under President Joe Biden.
As a consequence of exorbitant food and ingredient prices, Gruel said that restaurants across the board have incurred "double-digit" declines in revenue over the past year or so.
"Restaurants can't even keep up with the price hike," said Gruel. "It's hard to set the prices, because we don't know where [inflation] is going next."
These volatile prices are ostensibly "killing" the restaurant industry, said Gruel, who also said that restaurateurs have been unfairly cast as "greedy" over the past two-plus years — dating back to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"What you're going to see [soon] is a disaster for the restaurant industry," said Gruel.
Price hikes on the national level typically have a lag time of two or three months for restaurants, said Gruel. And yet, "we're already seeing a number of [restaurant] closings."
Gruel then added: "Open, close ... open, close. It's a bad cycle [for restaurants]; and then we became the villains" for charging higher prices.
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