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As inflation continues to rise in Joe Biden’s economy, vendors in New York City who are famously known for selling one-dollar slices of pizza may soon have to raise prices to cover their costs and still generate a profit.
Since the first pizza parlor was established by Italian immigrants in the late 1880s, the number of pizzerias in the Big Apple has swollen to some 1,700 establishments. But after strict COVID lockdowns wiped out more than 1,000 restaurants overall, higher prices due to a number of factors — economic policies, massive government spending, and supply chain shortages — now threaten street pizza vendors as well.
“Rent is increasing, and supply chain problems leading to inflation is pushing up the cost of oil, cheese, wheat and meat. Deliveries are spotty, tomato sauce faces higher shipping costs, and pizza boxes are scarce,” The Guardian reported on Christmas Day.
“Now the existence of the fabled 99¢ or dollar pizza outlets that rely on fast, high-volume trade is being threatened after nearly two years of pandemic-reduced foot traffic. That is a blow not only to the city’s image, but also to many low-income New Yorkers in times of trouble,” the outlet continued.
The situation is leading Abdul Muhammad, the owner of 99 Cent Fresh Pizza, an eight-shop chain in Manhattan, to consider raising prices for his fare, the first time he would have to do so since 2001 if prices continue to rise on supplies.
“I have to think about it because my customers, many of them unemployed and struggling to make rent, can’t afford to pay more,” he told The Guardian.
Muhammad managed to remain open during the dark lockdown days of the pandemic save for one month — March 2020 — because he said that for some customers, one slice of pizza is all the food they got.
“I feel bad because everybody has had a lot of problems with the coronavirus, no jobs, everything was closed, and the food stores that were open doubled their prices. So I try to stay open to help the people,” Muhammad told the outlet.
Outside of one of his locations, several customers told The Guardian they had come to rely on Muhammad’s pizza shops.
“I come here when I’m hungry, but I can’t come here all the time because I’m diabetic,” Sam Pegano, who said he was homeless, said. “It’s important to me, especially in the winter, because it’s hot food.”
Other customers said the dollar-per-slice pizza was important to them because the food is fast and inexpensive.
“People in New York love dollar-slice pizza because they’re everywhere around the city and they’re open late,” NYU data science graduate Bishank Gaglani said. “Whenever you need to grab a bite, and don’t know what to have, you can have a slice and you’re good to go.”
“I can’t imagine New York City without the dollar slice. But even if it goes to $1.50, people will still come,” he added.
Even the famed Dollar Tree has had to raise prices in the Biden economy.
The retailer announced in late November that prices would rise 25 percent, bringing items to $1.25, as the cost of manufacturing amid shortages of materials rise as well.
The company also said that its price increase was permanent and “not a reaction to short-term or transitory market conditions.”
“We experienced a strong finish to the quarter, as shoppers are increasingly focused on value in this inflationary environment,” company president and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Witnyski, said at the time.
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