‘Don’t forget about us’ | Small businesses and restaurants struggling amid inflation and long recovery from COVID

“We are at this inflection point right now, especially the small, community, independent restaurants that are barely hanging on,” said one expert.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio business owner says her family eatery is in jeopardy. Pam Capparelli of ‘Capparelli’s on Main‘ said things are not looking good.

The restaurant business is her heart and soul.

“A lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of tears, not knowing if I am going to make it after 23 years,” she said. “2022, 2023, we have slowly — it is just getting worse, and worse.” When you aren’t making enough money to pay the bills that’s frightening.”

She said there are several factors.

“The whole world has changed, the economy, the inflation,” she said.

Capparelli said the other issue is the lack of employees.

“If the business isn’t there, they can’t make enough money,” she said. “They are going out and totally trying to find something out of the restaurant business.”

Recently, on her personal page, she made a post on Facebook reaching out to her friend’s writing that times are difficult.

“It is hard to ask people for help,” she said. “You don’t want people to know that are failing.”

According to Emily Williams Knight, Capparelli is not alone. Knight is the CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association.

“I think what you are seeing now is a sustained recovery that is going into this third year,” she said.

Knight highlighted that the demand of consumers was great after the pandemic, but she said now that has changed.

“That demand is starting to wane, “she said. “And what is replacing it is this sense of a potential recession whether or not we are in or out. I think that is debatable.

She talked about the change in consumer spending essentially saying it is tricky right now.

“We are at this inflection point right now, especially the small, community, independent restaurants that are barely hanging on,” she said. “Because we haven’t seen key relief in costs as consumers begin to pull back slightly as they anticipate what 2024 might bring.”

As for Capparelli, since her Facebook post she said business has been good. She said for now they will take it day by day.

“A lot of competition,” she said. “There are so many choices. People start forgetting about the little guys. Don’t forget about us.”

The Texas Restaurant Association said another way to support these businesses is by buying gift cards as we approach the holidays.

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