RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some small restaurant owners are trying to keep up with rising costs during a time of inflation, and are relying on their community for support to stay open.

After dealing with closures and modified operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant owners have had to reevaluate costs and update spending to even break even.

“Ovens pre-COVID that were maybe six, seven, eight thousand dollars are now ten, twelve thousand dollars. So for small new businesses, those were big hits to take,” bakery owner Claudia Strobing said.

“For all of our dishes we raised about $1.50 per serving, which is not a whole lot but it does make a big difference,” restaurant owner Dominic Pham said.

The scene inside an eatery in Richmond. Credit: Rolynn Wilson / 8News

Restaurant owners who opened before prices reached a 40-year high said they are more reliant on the community than they have ever been to make ends meet.

Others who opened during the pandemic said they had to change their strategy and adjust their budget to make up for the increase in costs, which was challenging for them.

“It made us maybe think about 100 times — whether or not I could actually do it, because it was just such a hard thing,” Strobing said, adding, “Bakeries are not necessities. So are people going to be buying things that aren’t necessities at a time when we’re post-COVID.”

Customers have been impacted by the rising costs themselves, but still choose to support their local restaurants.

“Restaurants define the cultural fabric of our communities. So, I think it’s important to support and be there for them when they are there for us,” said Alec Hale, a Richmond resident and customer of the city’s restaurant scene.