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Global supply chain issues leaving mark on local businesses

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:41 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Local businesses are feeling the squeeze from global supply chain slow-downs, and small restaurants are trying to navigate an uncertain future.

Scott Bowman, the owner of Odd Fodder in Perrysburg said it’s random -- sometimes they’ll get what they ordered on time, and in other instances, it will be six weeks before they see it. That puts a unique burden on a small business.

“We had multiple items that we’ve cut from the menu because we would get it for one week and not get it for three weeks later, so we had to make decisions,” Bowman said. “We were like, What is it that we can do with what we have?”

Bowman said disruptions in the global supply chain are impacting his restaurant, where they make over-the-top milkshakes. The disruptions are keeping key ingredients and packaging items from showing up.

“That was what it started with, plastic straws, and then it was to-go packaging, and then it was certain French fries, and then it was chips, and then it was … it was just one thing after the other,” Bowman said. “It’s just, there was no rhyme or reason to it. It was just like, ‘This week, here’s what you got. What are you what are you gonna do?’”

It’s a struggle the head of the Ohio Restaurant Association said he’s seeing across the state and beyond.

“A lot of items that are coming from overseas are backed up,” ORA president and CEO John Barker said. “You probably have seen some of this backed up at our ports. That’s having an impact. A lot of paper products, plastic products, things like that that help us move food are all backed up, but even processing plants, quite honestly, are terribly understaffed.”

All of that leaves small family-owned businesses like Odd Fodder scrambling to find enough products to keep customers happy and stay in business.

And even when they find the materials they need, they’re paying more for the basics.

“We’re still paying twice as much for it,” Bowman said. “We’re still buying things that we don’t want to have to spend that much money on because that’s just the world we live in now.”

Bowman said Odd Fodder, which opened just before the pandemic, had a few supply issues last year, but nothing like they’ve seen in 2021.

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