Rising Flour Costs Means More Dough

JONESBORO (KAIT) - The shortage of wheat and the rising cost of flour is making it hard for restaurants that need the dough.

There's nothing better than spreading butter on a fresh baked roll but restaurant owners say the price of flour is putting them in a pinch.

At the time I am writing this story, wheat is selling for 10.40 a bushel. This high cost is driving flour prices up accordingly.

Stefani Savoy, Gen. Mgr. Sheffields  "We bake and our own buns, we do our own cakes so we use a lot of flour in this restaurant."

Stefani says they go through about 600 pounds of flour a month. And the rising cost of flour is determing the output of the oven.

At most restaurants flour can effect a good portion of their menu and Sheffields is no exception.

Savoy, "All of our sandwiches are served on our home made buns and that's about half of our menu right there plus every table that comes in does get out fresh rolls complimentary. So I would say our business probably does about 65 to 70 percent have flour product in it."

So why the flour shortage? Basically because there is very little wheat. More than 90 percent of the export crop has been sold to wheat - poor nations and other countries who can afford the price. Add this to the increase in corn acreage and the decrease in wheat acreage it all adds up to a fifty pound bag costing around 28 dollars a bag.

This costs affect both restaurants and retailers.

Hardin/Sysco is  a food wholesaler is working with their customers to help keep flour prices down.

Jay Taggart, "We're doing our best as a corporation to keep our cost down by ordering higher quantities, giving us better deals from the processors of the flour."

So far Sheffields is getting by and not having to raise prices.

Savoy, "We have not had to pass onto our customers yet but I'm sure that if the prices does keep increasing our prices may have to increase just because so much of our menu does include homemade baking using flour."

One of the first steps Sheffields will be taking to cut down on flour use is asking customers if they want rolls instead of automatically bringing them to the table.