It's been one hell of a ride for restaurants in Connecticut, and even though COVID restrictions have been lifted, they still face many other challenges.

If you're a restaurant owner in Connecticut, or you're wondering why one of your favorite restaurants is not operating like it used to before the pandemic, there are a number of reasons that things are far from back to normal.

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According to wtnh.com, over 600 restaurants in the state shut down for good during the pandemic, so for those who managed to survive, they are still facing some major challenges as staff shortages, supply chain slowdowns, and higher prices threaten their future.

It looked like there was a glimmer of hope when COVID-19 numbers started to drop and restrictions for dining were lifted back in the beginning of the summer. People started to return, restaurants started filling up, and it looked like things were slowly getting back to normal.

Then the reality of the times set in, and restaurants were facing some new challenges. According to stats from the Connecticut Restaurant Association, since pandemic restrictions were lifted, there are 25,000 restaurants job opening. If you do the math then you'll see that restaurants are operating with only about 60 to 70 percent of the staff that they were operating with, so that's why it's taking you longer to get service, and longer to get your food. A lot of restaurants have been putting up signs letting their customers know to bare with them while they are extremely understaffed.

Speaking of food, if you throw in the supply chain shortage, then you've got a double whammy of low staffed numbers, and more expensive menu items.

A couple going out to dinner now is probably paying up to $20 more than you were paying prior to the pandemic. The Connecticut Restaurant Association is reporting that during the last two months, prices on multiple different items are continuing to increase, and stuff is also in extremely limited supply. Restaurants that are asking for x amount of product are only receiving a percentage of it. So you can see why many restaurants are just holding their breath hoping to stay afloat and just be able to make it through the winter.

It's not been easy for many local restaurants, and some are teetering on the brink. If they are unable to hire more staff, and if prices continue to increase, many say they may have to close their doors even before the holiday season rush.

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