Kylie Bean, the owner of two Wagga cafes, has been forced to accept that every time she receives an invoice for a delivery of food, she will be met with yet another price increase.
Over the past two years, her business has been hit with constant price hikes for wholesale products like coffee beans, milk, fruit, vegetables and meat, leaving her to grapple with the dilemma of whether she should pass on some of the costs to customers.
"We have numerous deliveries every day from all the different companies that we use," Mrs Bean said. "Every invoice you're seeing things going up and some of them you nearly fall off your chair."
The Busy Bean Cafe owner estimates some products have risen in price by 200 per cent since the start of the pandemic.
"You want to keep everything affordable and great value for money but ultimately I'm going to have to increase some prices," she said.
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Mrs Bean admitted many customers would probably be upset to see prices go up but she stressed that small businesses cannot be expected to absorb all costs and remain profitable.
"At the end of the day we don't increase prices to make more money, we increase prices to keep ourselves in business and keep our staff in jobs," she said.
Bayleaf Restaurant and Cafe manager Mo Asad said the cost increases have drastically reduced his business' profit margins and have been exacerbated by the rising cost of fuel making deliveries more expensive.
His restaurant has held back on upping their prices "because it is not a smart idea" but he admits that it will be inevitable if the current situation continues.
As well as the pandemic and the fuel crisis, fruit and vegetables prices have also spiked in recent weeks due to floods and heavy rain in Queensland and NSW destroying crops and disrupting supply lines.
"Things like capsicum, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach have gone up 30 to 50 per cent and some stuff has nearly doubled," Wagga Fruit Supply owner Steve Papasidero said.
"Prices can be volatile but this is just across the board and people are noticing it and commenting on it.
"The margins are obviously shot - it's tough to manage."
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