Left: Smitty’s in Steinbach is serving up more local food as part of a strategy to reduce waste and saving money. (Photo Credit: Facebook.com/smittyssteinbach) Right: Damian Penner at Rocco’s Pizzeria in Steinbach. He says it is great to collaborate with other people in the hospitality industry, sharing ideas to help survive challenging times.

Written by Judy Peters Monday, Nov 28 2022, 5:00 AM

As food prices continue to rise, a couple of local restaurants are sharing some of their challenges and strategies to succeed during these difficult times.

Damian Penner at Rocco’s Pizzeria in Steinbach says they are facing increasing costs in several areas, not just for food.

“We’ve been hit from pretty much every angle over the last year, year and a half,” Penner says. “Especially with us being in delivery, the repairs have gone up on fleet. Obviously, everybody knows about the gas prices, at the pumps as well as natural gas and electricity. So, it’s not just the food. I mean, that’s a big part of it, but it’s coming from every angle right now.”

Penner appreciates brainstorming with other business owners, sharing ideas and strategies to get through these challenges.

He says it is also important to purchase local products as much as possible.

“We’re really looking for the local (products) and how to be able to support the community,” Penner says. “Because, you know, a dollar kept in the community as a dollar that is potentially going to be able to support you later as well.”

Kaely Dyck at Smitty’s in Steinbach says they are also making a greater effort to buying more local products.

“Almost all of our wing seasonings now are from local companies,” she says. “Whereas we used to get cases and cases of those shipped in plastic, now lots of our wing seasonings are being made (locally). We are working with Von Slick’s from Steinbach (area) and with Spice World, which is in Winnipeg.”

With examining their purchasing habits, Dyck says it has become apparent that a few changes can make a big difference.

“(Buying) less stuff that comes packaged and more stuff that we’re actually making in-house ourselves, which is a pretty cool silver lining to come out of it as well,” she says.

Dyck says they are buying more products locally and purchasing smaller amounts more often, so the food gets used before it expires.

She adds they are also investing in technology and training that is geared toward reducing waste.

Source: https://steinbachonline.com/articles/smittys-and-roccos-get-creative-surviving-cost-increases