For almost four decades, Steven Radden has been cooking-up comfort meals in Metro-Detroit, but he says today’s kitchen climate is something he’s never seen before.

Food costs is sky-rocketing, but more so than that you can’t get the food,” Radden said.

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“Either you can get food, can’t get the containers the food go in. You get containers, can’t get the food. So it’s really hard getting food period.”

The pandemic pushed the owner of Steve’s Soul Food to change his business model to keep the grill going.

He closed the doors to his physical location on Franklin Street in Detroit at the start of the pandemic and took his menu on the road; opening two food trucks to keep customers coming back.

We ran the truck and semi-mobile restaurant up on 7 Mile most of the year until we kept getting ran-off by the church, so i finally just gave-in on that,” Radden continued.

“So, I came back to remodel our brick and mortar to make it more, you know safer for the clientele.”

According to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, 83% of operators in the food and hospitality industry say labor costs are higher than rates prior to the pandemic.

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Fifty-eight percent say the Delta Variant caused a decline in customer demand for in-door dining.

So this year, I’ve been pretty much closed. Last year, I think we worked the first quarter, first three months and we were closed all last year,” Radden said.

“So pretty much, I’ve been closed almost two years.”

Radden is citing some of his challenges on not being able to retain a full staff.

The seasoned chef is now focusing on installing a kiosk, where customers can dine-in, skip the server and submit their own orders.

With the labor and the people don’t want to work, so it’… it’s definitely some different trying times here in the restaurant business,” Radden said.

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Steve’s Soul Food will re-open its doors to customers starting January 2022 for dine-in and carry-out services.