New Mexico restaurants feel the pinch as chicken prices soar

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rising chicken prices are impacting restaurants all across the country, leaving some fans frustrated on where to get their poultry fix.

Some restaurants in the Midwest said they’re paying 400 percent more for their chicken products. In New Mexico, Whataburgers have had to scrap their chicken menus for several weeks.

Drew Lipscomb, with Ms. Gennie’s House of Chicken, said they’re doing what they can to avoid getting fried as the so-called "chicken wars" heat up.

“Our fried chicken, we hand bread every piece,” Lipscomb said.

Except these days, getting those pieces seems to be getting pricier.

“A little over a month ago, we started noticing the rise in chicken prices, just like a 10 to 12 cent raise in our prices,” remembered Lipscomb. “But when you’re ordering chicken at the volume that we are, it makes a really big difference.”

Lipscomb said they order hundreds of pounds every week.

“That’s just our pieces of fried chicken. That’s not including like our rotisserie and everything,” Lipscomb said.

Multiple factors have led to the nationwide shortage, including a recent storm that hit Texas back in February. The supply was impacted as a result.

“It’s just stressful, do you know what I mean? Anything right now is stressful, and then adding that to our food cost, you know, we just want to make sure we can maintain our quality and not have to compromise on what we’re actually ordering,” said Lipscomb.

At one point, Lipscomb said only frozen chicken was available, but they decided not to order it. Instead, they’re staying informed, adapting, and even “winging it” by introducing customers to the other items they have available like fried catfish.

“When you come here, you can feel that it’s a home-style home cooked meal,” expressed Lipscomb.

That’s what she said sets them apart from fast food chains.

“It’s frustrating, but definitely not something we feel like we can’t overcome,” said Lipscomb.