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Weekly menu changes explain 'what the heck is going on' at northern Va. restaurant

Dixie Bones restaurant in Woodbridge, Virginia. (7News)
Dixie Bones restaurant in Woodbridge, Virginia. (7News)
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Small businesses like independent restaurants are struggling to find ways to stay afloat due to inflation.

7News Reporter Victoria Sanchez stopped by Dixie Bones restaurant in Woodbridge, Va. to see the innovative way the owner is dealing with rising costs and supply chain shortages.

The simple pleasure of barbeque is getting pricier to enjoy. Pork, chicken, beef and dairy are costing a whole lot more, said owner Nelson Head.

SEE ALSO | CEO says he's 'praying for inflation' because it's good for his business, report says

“That prices us out of a lot of business. People come in and they can’t afford to come back as often. I fully understand that. I wish there was something I could do about it. But I have to maintain those margins if I’m going to pay our staff --- if I’m going to pay rent, if I’m going to pay insurance and utilities which have gone through the roof," he explained.

“Over the past two decades, how have you seen inflation come up, go down, recession? What has it been looking like and how does it compare to today?” Sanchez asked.

“This is the worst I’ve ever encountered," Head said frankly.

He's approaching the fluctuating market and inflation in a straightforward way. That doesn't mean it's painless.

“We just felt like, we have to explain to people what the heck is going on," said Head.

And what's 'going on' is getting put in black and white.

He held up a plastic-covered menu.

“So, these menus get printed up every week?” Sanchez asked.

“Every week," he said. "With a new thing on what happened last week and what happened over the last year."

Dixie Bones emails customers wholesale price changes and what that means for menu items. If brisket increases, the cost of a beef barbeque plate reflects that.

“There’s only three ways that a restaurant can deal with that sort of stuff," he explained. “They can cheapen their ingredients, they can shrink their portions, and the third way, is to pass along the underlying cost of your food in the price of you menu. That’s the method that we chose to do.”

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It's all to keep the restaurant of more than 26 years open. Once costs drop, he hopes things will become more affordable for Dixie Bones and its customers.

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