Despite high inflation, coffee sales are going strong

Inflation continues to rise, and its effects are being felt in Wisconsinites’ to-go cups. According to the federal government, inflation was up 8.5 percent in March. This is the highest rate recorded since 1981.

For some businesses, inflation is not yet eroding sales.

Despite an inflation rate of 8.5 percent in March, customers continue to patronise the establishment, purchasing food, coffee, and tea. According to Mamie Toppe, who acquired Kaukauna Coffee & Tea in January.

She’d interned there a few months prior and adored the atmosphere.

“Everyone gets to know everyone, especially the regulars,” Toppe explained. “They come in, they joke with us, and we know what they’re going to order before they reach the front counter because they always order the same thing.”

And those customers continue to come in, despite the fact that Americans are paying more for everything, from gasoline and food to clothing and energy.

“I’m not sure if that will change as this continues, or if it will begin to affect people’s purchasing decisions,” Toppe said. “Or, if they’ve been through enough in the last couple of years that they’re just rolling with the punches for the time being.”

Little Chute resident Tom Lemke is a regular at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea. Inflation has had no effect on his purchasing habits or preferences.

“You simply accept it. It will pass. “I hope faster than I do,” he said, laughing.

Restaurants, like consumers, are paying higher prices for ingredients and overhead costs — everything from meat to cooking oil and labour. Numerous people are still recuperating from the pandemic.

This is the latest obstacle the industry must overcome, according to Susan Quam, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

On the plus side, people desire to dine out.

“We are seeing a significant amount of pent-up demand in the majority of the state,” Quam said. “Our supper club staff reports that they have a group of people who are desperate to get out after being trapped at home for two years, and the first place they want to go is a supper club.”

While coffee prices have increased by more than 10% in the last year, Toppe said the price she pays has remained stable. Likewise, her menu prices have increased.

However, she is experiencing increases in operating costs in other areas.

“Food isn’t as bad as it used to be, but a lot of paper products, such as to-go boxes and coffee cups, have been out of stock, and I’ve had to seek out alternative vendors,” she explained. “That was a little difficult.”

She is optimistic about the future, even if inflation persists.

Locally owned restaurants navigate price increases in food.

While new vehicle inventory continues to shrink, used vehicle prices are expected to stabilise by the end of the year.

“As a business owner, that concern is always in the back of your mind,” Toppe explained. “Fortunately, we’re approaching summer, and this place gets extremely busy… so I’m hoping that, even if things get a little worse, that will get us through.”

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