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Some Jacksonville restaurants forced to raise prices due to inflation

"You're forced to go up or you're forced to go out of business," said Melvin Williams, owner of Smoke in the City BBQ.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Your restaurant outing may now cost a little more.

Inflation is forcing some restaurants to increase their prices. Paying more for goods, facing a worker shortage and dealing with COVID-19 have put a lot on the plates of people in the restaurant industry.

"You're forced to go up or you're forced to go out of business," said Melvin Williams, owner of Smoke in the City BBQ on University Boulevard. "So you got to pick and choose which one you want to do."

Williams says he's paying much more to get the food he cooks, forcing him to increase his prices by one dollar for most items.

"Ribs this morning were $2.39," he said Thursday, the first day of his price increase. "Just last week it was $1.80 a pound."

It ends up costing him hundreds more.

"That's $20 each case that's going up," Williams said. "If I buy 20 cases of ribs, now you're looking at $400 that we're actually spending extra on what we normally would pay less for."

BurgerFi is reportedly dealing with the same issues and increasing prices to offset inflation and working to expand its ordering kiosks to offset the worker shortage.

"I feel their pain just as well as everyone sees the pain that I'm going through," Williams said. "We're all in this to make a good living off of it. It's hard work. So we have to make the adjustment because prices are not going back down."

You may be feeling the price increase too. You're paying 12 and a half percent more for meat, fish and eggs compared to last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As BBQ fans are stating on social media, Smoke in the City's prices still aren't crazy. Fifteen dollars will get you ribs, chicken, and two sides. It's a lot of food and there's a lot of support from the community.

"I'm Melvin the BBQ man and I'm your man," Williams said.