Wisconsin restaurants encouraged to offer limited menus, prices could increase

MADISON, Wis.– Many restaurants have already switched to limited take-out menus, and it is possible those could stick around even after restrictions are lifted as the food industry comes back online.

As restaurants prepare for full or partial re-openings, Wisconsin Restaurant Association President Kristine Hillmer recommends reaching out to distributors in plenty of time, as it might be difficult to get certain foods, especially meat and dairy.

“What products can they get? What products are actually affordable for them to get?” Hillmer said. “We also know that as part of this, some things might be much more expensive.”

Hillmer said customers can also expect to see some price increases, but not because the restaurants want to make more money.

“Prices are absolutely something that restaurants are going to have to face, because if their expenses, i.e. their supply prices are expensive, they’re going to have to charge more. Also, at a limited capacity in many respects,” Hillmer said.

“Food will be available. It might just not be what you want, when you want it,” Evan Dannells, chef and owner of Cadre on University Ave., said. “As long as people have a good understanding of that, we’ll get through this just fine.”

Dannells said limited availability could affect his restaurant, but he’s prepared to work around it.

“Quite frankly, we are well-positioned for that. Our menu is small and changes frequently, along with the seasons, and so we intend to sort of intensify that and run an even smaller menu that changes even more often,” Dannells said.

Both Hillmer and Dannells agreed that not all restaurants will be able to open immediately after the green light is given. Dining rooms and staff need to be prepared to safely welcome customers in again.