Some U.P. restaurants temporarily close due to vendor stoppage

Sysco, a large food vending company, has temporarily stopped delivering to parts of the area.
Munising restaurants struggle with food shortage
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Help is wanted and tables were temporarily empty at EJ’s Dine or Dash during tourism season in Munising.

Both EJ’s and Taco Primo were sent scrambling when they found out food they rely on to serve customers wasn’t coming.

“We got a call Thursday night around 9 p.m. saying, ‘Hey you know that food delivery that is supposed to come in at 7 tomorrow? It’s not happening,’” said Aaron Biggs, EJ’s Dine or Dash Owner.

“We received a call yesterday that we would not be getting our shipment today which, for us, is a huge deal,” said Amie Nolan, Taco Primo Owner.

Both Munising businesses received the call from Sysco. A spokesperson for the large food vending company tells TV6, “Sysco regrets that we have had to delay service for a limited number of customers in various locations. This is mainly due to unprecedented labor shortages in the industry. We are aggressively recruiting delivery partners and warehouse associates, and our goal is to restore full service to our impacted customers as soon as possible.”

Both Taco Primo and EJ’s made last-minute runs to other local food vendors to fill their fridges and plan to keep using those sources for now. On Tuesday, EJ’s opened five hours late while waiting for a food delivery. Meanwhile, Taco Primo is open as usual, but does not have enough supply to serve chips and salsa.

“Ultimately businesses take the hit,” said Nolan. “Customers come in, they think we aren’t prepared, they think we can’t handle large amounts of crowds which is not the case.”

“I’m 26 years deep in the business and this is testing my metal,” said Biggs. “I don’t back down, I don’t hide, we don’t cry and there’s been some tears shed.”

Biggs says he has been told the temporary stoppage will last six weeks across the U.P. Sysco has not yet confirmed how long the stoppage will last or how much of the U.P. will be affected.

Both businesses ask for the public’s patience as they continue to work through issues with the food chain.

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