Saultites looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl with some takeout or a night on the town this weekend will be shelling out more money to do so, as rising inflation rates continue to pose challenges for some local businesses.
According to Statistics Canada, the Consumer Price Index rose to 4.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in December, its highest point since 1991. That increase is being felt in the food industry, where dining establishments like Embers on the Ridge have been experiencing increases of approximately 10 per cent for food products when compared to 2020.
“We just kind of really scaled back our menu recently to offer fewer options,” said Embers’ director of operations, Travis Spiess, speaking with SooToday Friday. “Having difficulty getting certain items, it just didn’t make sense to show it on the menu and then potentially say I’m sorry, it’s not available.
“We’ve really, over the last month or so, looked at what the costs were going to be, what was readily available - and if we had any issues over the last few months, we just removed them, unfortunately.”
Despite the uptick in prices on the menu brought on by inflation, Spiess is counting on a “good turnout” for Valentine’s Day this weekend, judging by the number of reservations already booked. The eatery’s Super Bowl offerings, meanwhile, will be takeout only.
“The team is pumped, and I think the morale is high and everyone is really excited to be open first of all, but then seeing more people out for this special occasion this weekend,” Spiess said.
Marconi Cultural Event Centre General Manager Trevor Zachary says there won’t be Super Bowl events on-site, but the Marconi will be offering takeout orders for pizza and wings combos.
But it’s going to cost consumers a bit more at the till as the cost of popular Super Bowl fare has increased.
“I would say some of the pricing on beef has certainly increased, almost out of control,” said Zachary. “We’ve had to be a little more selective on those particular products.”
The minimum wage increase in Ontario to $15 an hour also factors into increased menu prices. The soon-to-be revamped menu for Tempo, Zachary says, will include some price hikes based on rising costs for food.
“That also comes into effect when you’re looking at your food services,” Zachary said.
But is that putting a damper on business for Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl at the Marconi this year?
“Not from what I’ve seen from us, because we’re extremely busy this weekend, which is great,” said Zachary. “I do believe a lot of people just want to get out too, at this point.
“Down the road, I believe it’s going to be about service, it’s going to be about quality of food.”
Meanwhile, those thinking of gifting their significant others with red roses between now and Feb. 14 at Flowers With Flair will be disappointed.
Melissa Wilson, floral designer and manager at the Bruce Street flower shop, says that while other colours of roses are still up for grabs, the 500 red roses she lined up for Valentine’s Day have all been scooped up.
“We are sold out of red roses already, and the holiday hasn’t arrived,” said Wilson. “It’s been a little bit busy, busier than what we expected.”
Wilson hasn’t sat down to do the math, but estimates that floral products have gone up by 15 to 20 per cent, which trickles down to the consumer.
“We’ve been having issues with getting specific flowers, and flower prices have increased exponentially in the last couple of months,” she said.