Letter to the Editor: Beer, Wine and a Small Business

My wife and I own and operate the Chef’s hat restaurant in Ephraim. After reading, listening and talking to many people I feel the need to let people know from a business and personal perspective what the vote truly entails for a small business located here in beautiful downtown historic Ephraim.

On April 5, Ephraim will vote on whether to allow the sale of wine and beer to be served tableside in the village. Fourteen years ago when we opened our restaurant we understood that Ephraim did not allow the sale of wine and beer. We proceeded to open our doors serving, breakfast, lunch and dinner in order to make our numbers work so we could be part of this community. There have been a lot of changes over the past 14 years of being in business, but unfortunately none has become any less expensive. It has been 14 years of rising costs including building insurance, workers comp, unemployment insurance, maintenance, employee wages and last but hardly least, food costs. I hear from everyone how expensive it is at the grocery store compared to years past.

Over the next few years we will not be able to stay competitive in our food cost and wages compared to other villages. We will have no choice but to increase our food prices thus beginning to price ourselves out of the market because we have no additional revenue streams. In today’s market, restaurants offset their food cost with beer and wine sales in order to keep their food cost down and more affordable, something we are unfortunately unable to do in this village.

My wife, children and I want to remain part of Ephraim. We want our restaurant to flourish, but the handwriting is on the wall. Unless we are willing to allow wine and beer to be served in restaurants, Ephraim’s restaurants will suffer. A vote for serving wine and beer in restaurants will help sustain our economy without compromising its natural beauty.


Todd Bennett, owner/operator, Chef’s Hat

Ephraim, Wis.

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