Another Reason For Restaurants To Worry: Supply Chains
With little hesitation, one of my favorite Indian restaurants in Greater Boston is Shanti Indian Cuisine with locations in Dorchester (the original), Roslindale and Cambridge. It’s always extremely fresh, tasty, fast and travels well for take-out and delivery. Not surprisingly, Shanti, like many other restaurants that have a to-go business, has been able to weather the storm and continue to serve the communities of Dorchester and Roslindale. Many of their loyal customers stocked up with bulk orders for their families that could be frozen or eaten over several days. The influx of business allowed Shanti to keep some of their staff employed and revenue coming through the doors to pay fixed costs.
What happened earlier this week, however, was somewhat unexpected and I would imagine a challenge many of their restaurant peers are facing – supplies of key ingredients dried up. Their suppliers from NY/NJ that sourced many of the unique spices (turmeric, fenugreek leaves, black cardamom, etc.) Shanti uses to make their amazing dishes were unavailable. Imports from India are not coming as frequently, if at all. The spigot has been turned off. And even if restaurants reopen and life in Boston returns to “normal,” there are fears that the supply chain may be impacted for many months with India and other countries behind the U.S. COVID-19 curve. Just another side effect of the pandemic that continues to frustrate and challenge the restaurant industry on both a local and global scale. Despite the demand Shanti has experienced the past few weeks, and their desire to continue to feed people, they have been forced to close their doors for the foreseeable future.
The above story is just one more example of the multitude of challenges restaurants face to stay open or reopen in the coming weeks or months, whatever the case may be. It’s still unclear what exactly it will take (or how long) to safely return to normal for restaurants including access to gov’t funding, staffing back up, availability of inventory, diners in seats, catering orders and events on the calendar. If you feel comfortable, please continue to support those still operating through take-out and delivery, purchasing gift cards (for Shanti click here) or donating to restaurant relief funds.