By, Menka Suresh and Samantha Rutt
A brick oven pizza shop, 16 Round, announced its grand opening for New Years Eve in the Stony Brook Square, but has delayed it twice. Recent inflation rates and the increased consumer use of food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash might be the reason why potential restaurant owners are skeptical about the prospects of success in Long Island, experts suggest.
“All of our stuff has doubled [in price], flour, sauce, cheese.” Vincent DeMarzo owner of Vincent’s New York Wood Fired Pizza said about his business’ experience with recent inflation, “We still serve the full product, but on our end we are eating the cost of the inflation.”
A Stony Brook based family-owned pizza truck, Vincent’s New York Wood Fired Pizza, is suffering due to recent inflation rates.
Food prices remain above historical average, as they were in 2022. In 2023, The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported, all food prices are predicted to increase 7.1 percent and food-away-from-home (restaurant purchases) are predicted to increase by 8.2 percent.
In response to the increase of ingredients Vincent’s raised the cost of a handful of specialty pies. The pizza truck also recently signed up for UberEats and DoorDash to better accommodate their customers.
“Inflation is squeezing the family budgets, especially those of middle and low-income families which spend a great deal on food and energy,” Dr. Panos Mourdoukoutas, an economics professor at Long Island University said, “These two items have been the critical drivers behind inflation.”
The impact of inflation on family budgets has greatly affected the local restaurants, as they no longer spend as much money eating out.
“Inflation has really pushed me to eat more home cooked food,” Sharadha Sambasivan, Long Island resident said, “I only go out to eat now if I am able to use coupons.”
Other neighborhood joints are experiencing similar difficulties in business. In ‘the Square’, Domino’s Pizza, Jersey Mikes, Organic Krush Kitchen and Eatery, eShin Noodle Bar and Súp Vietnamese Phở & Grill, have also experienced a lower amount of customers recently.
Domino’s Pizza, best known for its tracking based delivery service is also competing with inflation and third-party delivery services for its customers.
“This store about 10-20 years ago was one of the busiest stores around, in the past few years the store [traffic has] decreased a little,” William Hanley, manager at Domino’s Pizza in Stony Brook said “ I think Uber Eats and DoorDash play an impact, students have access to so much more around here now.”
Domino’s offers pizza deals and student discounts which attract more university students, as they are typically on a strict budget.
“Dominos is my favorite spot to go to on campus!” Shreyas Raman, computer science student at Stony Brook University said, “the owner there is nice and she gives us student discounts and their pizza is very good and pretty cheap, which helps [since] food has gotten a lot more expensive and we’re not that rich!”
Amid recent inflation concerns, 16 Round has announced it will open its doors March 1st.
Local Stony Brook resident Shannon Ryan said she will give it a shot.
“I will probably end up trying it at some point in my life because I live here [in Stony Brook].”