RC Provision and general manager Jerry Haines were featured in a Los Angeles Times story published April 9, 2014, focused on the ever-increasing cost of beef in the United States.
Jerry was interviewed extensively for the piece by writers David Pierson and Tiffany Hsu, and was also featured in a short video which can be seen here.
Langer said beef prices are the main reason his wholesale food costs have risen 45% in the last two years — much of it passed from his longtime supplier, R.C. Provision Inc.
The half-century-old Burbank company prepares corned beef, pastrami, roast beef and chili for L.A. icons such as Canter’s Deli, Pink’s Hot Dogs and Original Tommy’s Hamburgers. All the restaurants have to do is heat it up or slice it to their liking.
It’s been an increasingly difficult endeavor, with slaughterhouses driving up their prices for brisket and navel, an extra fatty portion of the belly crucial for making unctuous pastrami.
“For any profitability, you have to mark it up more and more,” said the company’s general manager, Jerry Haines, who has watched profit margins dwindle to about 1% from 5% in the last few years rather than hike prices enough to cover the increased costs.
Speaking last week at his company’s plant scented with paprika and smoked beef, Haines said small businesses like his are struggling to secure enough red meat. Slaughterhouses, also known as packers, are more likely to reserve their reduced supplies for big customers like McDonald’s.
There’s more pressure to throw the special cuts needed to make deli meat into the grinder for hamburgers. What’s left for Haines costs more. Brisket has more than tripled in price since 2008. Navel has more than doubled.
“This whole thing now is being driven by hamburger,” said the gravelly voiced Haines, who keeps years of beef prices recorded on stacks of small sheets of paper. “You take all the McDonald’s and Burger Kings across the United States; the amount of meat needed to make those hamburgers is forcing the value of other cuts of meat to go up.”
Read the complete article here. Thanks to David Pierson and Tiffany Hsu for a well-reported and accurate story.