This Taco Shop Is Sharing Exactly Why Their Prices Have Increased Because Of The Pandemic, And I’m Asking You Very Nicely To Examine This List

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“I think it was just a breaking point for us. Customers look at you and they’re like, ‘Why are you charging these prices?'”

By now, it’s no secret that the pandemic has turned the restaurant industry upside down. Whether you’re a restaurant owner, an employee, or a customer, you’ve likely had to deal with a slew of changes.

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Vanessa and Alejandro Silva — the husband-and-wife team behind Metztli Taqueria (and working parents to three young children) — told BuzzFeed that their decision to open up about their prices came after customers repeatedly asked why their tacos, priced between $5 and $7 each, cost that much.

“I think it was just a breaking point [for us], you know?” Vanessa Silva told BuzzFeed. “We’ve had very sarcastic comments where people are like, ‘are you guys cutting the cow in the back or something?’ [Customers] look at you and they’re like, ‘oh, you’re Hispanic, you’re Latino, like, why are you charging these prices?'”

The Silvas mention several things that can easily get overlooked when customers are assessing the price a food item “should” cost — and one of those things is quality. Vanessa and Alejandro say it best: “quality isn’t cheap.”

Instagram: @metztlitaqueria

As chefs and business owners, the Silvas know the importance of sharing high-quality, locally-sourced food with their community, and they “won’t change the quality [they’re] using just to make a profit.”

“We go to the markets to buy everything,” Vanessa explained. “We want to be able to provide good quality food for not just us, but for everybody.”

Another vital element that customers often overlook? Time. As the Silvas recap in an Instagram Story, the customer is seeing the finished chicken taco on their plate, but they’re not always considering the process that leads up to that. In this case: a 24-hour prep, 10 to 12 ingredients, and significant labor.

As they sum up: You’re not just paying for the taco.

While restaurants nationwide deal with rapidly rising food costs and inflation, Vanessa and Alejandro also point out that for them, serving Mexican food *specifically* can come with its own set of difficult preconceived notions.

“As chefs,” said Vanessa, “we put so much pressure on ourselves that anything can beat us up. Regardless of what level of cooking you’re at, certain words or even facial expressions [from customers] can bring you down.”

As the Silvas put it: “People forget to just be kind.” So, the next time you go out to eat, remember that restaurants are feeling the effects of this pandemic in major ways — including many of the small, family-run establishments out there like Metztli Taqueria. Tip well, be patient, and most importantly: be kind.

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