BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – In the last week, World of Beer and Mad Taco announced they’re closing their doors for good.
According to Abbie Krolczyk, President of the Brazos Valley Restaurant Association, factors like the rising costs of labor, food, and card transaction fees have led to a nationwide problem within the restaurant industry. In the Bryan and College Station area, these factors create a unique impact.
“It’s just that we have so many restaurants to choose from and not enough people to go around,” Krolczyk said.
The crowds brought in by football season at Texas A&M University make the area appealing to set up shop in, Tracy Munden, owner of Fritella Italian Cafe, said. During the season, visiting fans have many different options to choose from, which contributes greatly to the success of local restaurants.
“Everybody wants to open up a restaurant in a college town,” Munden said.
However, when the crowds are gone, there are too many restaurants in the area for the remaining customer base.
“People think there’s a lot of people that go out to eat here and there are but for per capita, there’s just so many restaurants here in town,” Munden said.
Krolczyk said rising costs and the seasonal nature of the service industry locally create a “perfect storm” for the consumer and the business.
“In January when there’s nothing much going on, it’s hard for the restaurants to hang on when there’s just so much new competition right now,” she said.
Fritella Italian Cafe reopened its doors in June of 2023 after being closed for more than a year. Munden said maintaining profit margins is even more challenging because of inflation.
According to the Texas Restaurant Association, the wholesale cost of food has gone up by 15.2% since November of 2022. This, combined with the oversaturation of the market in the area, contributes to closures.
”Basically, you’re sharing each other’s customer base with the restaurants, and with the cost of food going up so much, I think less people are eating out,” Krolczyk, who owns Kesco Restaurant Supply in Bryan, said.
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