ORLANDO, Fla. — The holidays are when bakeries typically make the bulk of their sales, and Central Florida bakers hope it can help them bounce back after struggling during the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Orlando business owner made adjustments to keep up with demand

  • Melvin Mendez, owner of El Cafetal, said customer demand has grown

  • Mendez said he increased prices because of the supply shortage, but also raised worker salaries to increase his workforce

​But, rising costs and inflation could make it difficult for them.

Melvin Mendez, owner of El Cafetal, said the only thing he’s not seen a shortage of is demand for his baked good and savory meals.

“I had to increase the number of workers at the bakery in order to meet the growing demand from our customers,” he said.

Mendez also raised employee salaries by 20% to increase his workforce.

This year, more than 160 customers ordered the holiday special, it’s an increase of more than 100 orders compared to last year.

“We are facing a supply shortage making it tougher to get goods, but thankfully we have a good relationship with our suppliers so we can meet all these orders,” Mendez said.

Even with a good relationship with suppliers, Mendez still needs to pay a little more because of the supply shortage.

“We’re paying around 30% more for almost everything so, we’ve increased our prices by 20% to help us but not hurt our customers,” he said.

Pumpkin flan, a holiday favorite at his bakery, went from $8 to $12. The supply shortage also changed how Mendez purchases goods.

“We're buying everything in bulk now to ensure we can keep our kitchen full,” he said.

University of Central Florida economics professor Dr. Sean Snaith said Floridians shouldn't expect the rising costs of goods to go away any time soon. He said lockdowns lead to an increase in demand and limited supply because of the pandemic.

While Central Florida waits for shipping issues to be resolved and supply to catch up, Snaith said price increases will continue.

“It’s not like this is a one-time thing — we’re going to play a little catch up here in the supply chain and everything is back to normal,” Snaith said. “The demand is still very strong. Consumers are still spending and will continue through the holiday shopping season and into next year.”

Snaith also said recent government spending, such as the pandemic relief checks, also contributed to price increases.

He said one concern he has is the potential for rapid wage and salary increases leading to longer-term inflation.