Restaurants feel the penny pinch this winter

HAMILTON CO., Ind. (WISH) – Just ask restaurant owners, or more specifically, their servers and they’ll tell you how hard this winter has been on budgets.

The snow and ice have closed business some days and kept customers away on others.

The Good Samaritan Network in Hamilton County says they’ve helped out about 10 people in just the last two weeks who needed help paying bills specifically because of weather-related cut backs.

A local restaurant manager in Noblesville says he’s seen a big dip in the bottom line. Local, family-owned businesses seem to be the hardest struck.

Sam Watson has managed Jim Dandy’s in Noblesville for 36 years. He says this winter weather has made for the toughest winter months he can remember.

“I mean, you can give away food, but if they can’t get here it don’t even make a difference in the price,” Watson said.

Watson says the weather has reduced sales by 15 to 20 percent this winter. That, along with snow removal costs and higher energy bills means times are tight.

“We’ve had to cut hours at times because of allowing our employees to get home at a still-decent weather conditions,” Watson said.

Jessica Keel has been a server at Jim Dandy’s for nearly 10 years.

“The worst ever,” Keel said.

Without her husband’s second income, she says she’s not sure she could have made ends meet.

“For instance, every Tuesday, I work from 11 to close and so that is my biggest day of the week. And it was cut into a third last Tuesday,” Keel said.

Unlike big chains, Jim Dandy’s relies solely on local customers.

“And most of the chains have different stores outside of our area, which might be in better climates, better temperatures and they can help offset some of them costs,” Waston said.

Watson just hopes sunshine and mild temperatures bring their regulars out of hibernation.

“And we’re ready!” Watson said.

The Good Samaritan Network is a non-profit that services Hamilton County families who need temporary help, but don’t qualify for government assistance.

You can find much more about the organization by visiting their website.

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