WA restaurants hit with increase supply costs

Nicola's Ristorante owners Jennifer and Ian Spears with their recent gold plate awards. Picture: Instagram.

Nicola's Ristorante owners Jennifer and Ian Spears with their recent gold plate awards. Picture: Instagram.

WA restaurants are finding it hard to not increase the cost of their food despite a continual price increase of stock from suppliers.

Bunbury Italian business Nicola's Ristorante owner Jennifer Spears said the cost of basic ingredients such as potatoes had increased and their suppliers had run out of stock of their Italian cheese.

"We have only started feeling the impact in the last week or so," Mrs Spears said.

"Being an Italian restaurant we like to get imported ingredients which has been made harder."

Australia's supermarket giants have imposed fresh product limits in Western Australian stores as floods in South Australia leave supply chains severely disrupted.

Freight services have ground to a halt on the Trans-Australian Railway after South Australia last month received a one-in-200-years deluge.

Repairs are continuing along a section of track more than 300 kilometres long, which has sustained damage across 18 spots.

Coles on Thursday announced temporary purchase limits for WA customers on a range of goods including pasta, rice, flour, sugar, chicken and sausages.

Mrs Spears said in the 15 years of owning the restaurant it was the first time they had had a problem on this scale.

Cost of produce has increased for restaurants like Nicola's in Bunbury. Picture: Instagram.

Cost of produce has increased for restaurants like Nicola's in Bunbury. Picture: Instagram.

"It is mentally draining, people expect us to know more than we do," she said.

Down south in Margaret River, Italian restaurants Pizzica and La Scarpetta are having similar issues.

Manager Daniele Manai said it didn't seem like supply was an issue because when one supplier had run out, others would have the stock but at a higher cost.

Despite the price of everything increasing, Mr Manai said the business had not passed the cost onto the consumers.

"At this stage we have been absorbing the increase," he said.

Pizzica have had other challenges over the last month with staff shortages due to the State Government mandatory vaccine policy, requiring most of WA's workforce to be double-vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a result it was forced to close its doors for two days each week, having lost a portion of their staff group during one of the busiest times of the year.

Margaret River restaurant La Scarpetta's manager Daniele Manai. Picture: supplied.

Margaret River restaurant La Scarpetta's manager Daniele Manai. Picture: supplied.

Closer to Perth in Mandurah, Sarba's restaurant said they had not seen any change in supply.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said she had been advised the rail line would reopen on February 17 but cautioned that purchase limits could remain in place for weeks to come given there was a significant freight backlog.

She said she had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to discuss options for supply contingencies.

"It highlights the fact that we probably need to do more to ensure that we have a more resilient east-west supply chain connection," she told reporters.

"We're very keen to work together to see how we can improve things in the future."

Ms Saffioti said triple road trains would arrive in Kalgoorlie on Friday to help increase the movement of products between the states.