Wolfgang Puck Says Inflation Is Hurting The Fine Dining World

It seems like everywhere we turn, we're reminded about the many impacts of runaway inflation. Of course, we all know that we see it at the supermarket on a regular basis when shopping for kitchen staples like dairy and poultry. 

Sadly, these higher costs are also being felt by new restaurants and a variety of local businesses. In July, Alignable reported that 38% of small restaurant owners could not afford to hire new staff, and have thus instituted hiring freezes to deal with managing tough finances. A variety of food celebrities have been particularly vocal about this topic, providing tips on how entrepreneurs can best manage adjusting to higher prices. For example, "Iron Chef" alum Wolfgang Puck is speaking out about it. 

While soaring food costs definitely play a role in the overall cost to operate a restaurant, Puck states there are more hidden fees to working a luxury food restaurant than one might think — including the price to buy cooking supplies, make repairs, and pay employees. In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, the restauranter explained how these challenges are also impacting him.

Even fine-dining isn't immune to inflation

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck owns a handful of fine-dining restaurants, including his line of CUT steakhouses and Chinois in Santa Monica. At CUT, Beverly Hills, a 6-ounce piece of the Japanese Wagyu New York Strip already costs $225, which makes it one of the most expensive steaks in the world (via Cheapism). However, in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, the cookbook author admitted that he has also been struggling with recent inflation.

The Food Network star explained that he recently purchased 12 cutting boards for $1,500, and only a week later, he realized that the cost increased to $2,000 for the same quantity. Of course, such a surge in pricing is inevitably expensive for all. Whether you own 20 restaurants all over the globe (as Puck does), or you are simply trying to operate an independent, fine-dining eatery, inflation is going to cut in on the bottom line. 

Interestingly, Puck also revealed an instance where he had to compete to keep an employee, by raising their salary from $100,000 to $130,000, due to another job offer. With inflation driving other costs even higher, Puck admitted that he only agreed to it because he liked the employee and it would cost him even more to train someone else. Sadly, Puck stated that he believes the current state of the economy makes these types of pressures common among restaurant owners.