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Local restaurants say chicken shortage will cause price increases

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Tyson Foods says because of breeding issues with roosters and a lack of staff, it's seeing a shortage of chicken. Restaurateurs in Peoria say that nationwide shortage is making them take another look at their prices.

"I've never seen anything close to this dramatic, this is something we, something nobody that I've talked to has ever seen," said Kavan Shay, owner of Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern.

Patrick Kirchhofer with the Peoria County Farm Bureau says the shortage is caused not just by the issues at Tyson, but also the lasting impact left by the pandemic.

"This past year with COVID, we've had a lot of plant shuts downs, so that's caused a delay in processing chickens," said Kirchhofer.

The big chain restaurants are being hit hard, but so too are the little guys, like Jr's Kitchen on Main.

"Right now chicken is up to $134 a case for a 40 lb box of chicken…I haven't touched my prices but I'm in the process of doing that now," said Elbert Nickerson, Jr.

Shay said suppliers have told him this price surge isn't ending anytime soon, especially for chicken parts that require manpower to produce, like wings.

"My food purveyor expects this to get worse before it gets better, I would say we're going to see peak prices in the July region, the height of Summer, and they will sort of trickle down from there," said Shay.

Both owners asked that customers be understanding when their prices are eventually increased.

Andy Weber

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