Inflation Has Taken Hold in the ‘BBQ Capital of the World’: Here’s What It Looks Like

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

All around the country prices have gone up and now it seems that the inflation bug has come for the BBQ Capital of the World. Kansas City restaurants are facing issues with the price of brisket and other items and that has been pushed onto the customers as well. Prices have risen on menus in the city and it has some restaurant owners asking customers to act.

Arthur Bryant’s, a popular restaurant in Kansas City has had to up prices. Brisket has gone from $15 to almost $18 in recent days. It was originally priced at $11 and now the owner, Jerry Rauschelbach has reacted. Rauschelbach talked to KCTV the local CBS station.

“I was thoroughly embarrassed to have to charge that price,” he said. “I decided, I need to explain to the customer why the prices are the way they are.” So, he posted a sign outside the establishment.

“Please trust that our meat costs are incredibly high making profits very hard to obtain,” the sign said in part. “We are charging the least expensive price to you and yet stay open. Almost 70% of our business is brisket and burnt ends.”

Later in the message to his customers, Rauschelbach wrote, “order anything besides brisket or burnt ends.”

So, for now, customers will have to look around and find another meat they enjoy smoked and covered in BBQ sauce. Inflation has been making everything expensive lately.

Once customers saw the sign they reacted in a couple of different ways. One customer, Paul McCarthy, likes the inflation message from his favorite BBQ place. “I like that an establishment would have a sense of humor about such a pertinent topic. Because everywhere you go, grocery store, restaurants the price has skyrocketed.”

Despite Inflation Some Customers Still Ordering Their Favorite BBQ

McCarthy was at Arthur Bryant’s with a group of his cousins. They were in town for the NAIA tournament and had come to the area for years. Each year, burnt ends are on the table and this year, it wasn’t really a question of what they were going to order, despite the high prices. One customer put it plainly that inflation wasn’t changing his BBQ order.

“Frankly, I didn’t even look at the price,” Jeff Clark said. “I just love their brisket and burnt ends so much it doesn’t bother me.”

However, that isn’t exactly what Rauschelbach had in mind when he put up his sign. He was hoping that customers would heed the message and try some of their other offers. Things such as smoked turkey, chicken, pulled pork, and much more.

“I do have conversation with them [the customers], like really? You’re going to pay that?” the owner said. “We’re going to be in a bad cycle, probably through the end of the year. I don’t see prices coming off. I hope I’m wrong.”