GREAT FALLS — The hospitality industry has been hit hard over the past year and the pandemic has negatively impacted supply chains across the world, and food supplies are no exception.
With the new year in store, Celtic Cowboy and Hotel Avron owner Peter Jennings is prepared for the challenges his restaurant continues to face.
"It's a little bit of a yo-yo with COVID, obviously. Nobody really knows what to expect with all the new variants that pop up," Jennings said. "Supply chain issues are definitely a reality."
"You've got to be flexible from a restaurant perspective on what's on your menu, and from the hotel perspective, try to look out ahead and order things when you can, when they're available, and it takes a little more monitoring of that sort of thing. but that's really been our strategy all along," he continued. "We just try hard to find out what separates us from the rest, and market to that advantage."
Smoked American Barbeque is facing its own set of unique challenges as well, specifically when it comes to processing meats.
"Probably our biggest issue is beef. Montana is a big cattle-producing state. and there's a big difference between cattle and beef," owner Trevor Cavanagh explained.
With most of their beef being sourced in Nebraska, eight to 10 cows are used for brisket, posing challenges when purchasing local beef.
"There isn't a processing plant in Montana that can keep up with us. That's unfortunate," Cavanagh noted. "For the volume of beef that's raised in Montana, we would sure like to be able to buy local beef."
But despite the challenges, Cavanagh is looking forward to the new year ahead.
"As long as we can keep staffed well, and keep the meet products rolling well, I think we'll be just fine."