Restaurants are feeling the pressure: Cost of goods is up 30% and they are having to shell out higher wages to keep staff


Important Takeaways:

  • A ‘perfect storm’ is wiping out America’s restaurants – here’s why the Midwest is hardest hit by closures
  • Americans are eating out less as inflation weakens the dollars in their pocket, which is leading to some harsh consequences for restaurants across the country.
  • Visits to sit-down restaurants were down nearly five percent in 2023 from the year prior, according to location analytics firm
  • Even big metropolitan areas in the US known for their great dining spots are struggling to maintain an environment where it’s profitable to run a restaurant.
  • Eater NY reported that over 40 bars and restaurants closed in New York City from December 2023 to January 2024, with some of the owners saying business simply never picked up after the COVID lockdowns in 2020.
  • In middle America, where there are fewer people and household incomes are lower, almost all restaurants are feeling the pressure of empty seats.
  • Iowa’s capital city of Des Moines, for example, has seen many restaurants close because of lower foot traffic. Establishments are of course aware of this but so are the remaining restaurant regulars.
  • Jessica Dunker, the president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said the reason restaurants are shuttering is because the cost of goods is up 30 percent and they are having to shell out higher wages to keep staff on.
  • Dunker also pointed out that many food businesses are struggling to pay back loans they took out during the pandemic. The deals, most of them 30-month deferred loans, were likely necessary when lockdowns were in full swing and restaurants had virtually no customers by force of law.

Read the original article by clicking here.

A perfect storm creating global food crisis: Is the black horse out of the gate?

Black Horse

Important Takeaways:

  • A “perfect storm” of factors has created a global food crisis that just continues to intensify
  • Right now, we are literally teetering on the brink of such a disaster.
  • According to the UN’s World Food Program, we are dealing with “a hunger crisis of unprecedented proportions” right now…
    • Conflict, economic shocks, climate change and soaring prices for food and fertilizer are all combining in a perfect storm to create a hunger crisis of unprecedented proportions. Right now, in some of the hungriest places around the world, there just isn’t enough food to feed the population.
  • According to an article that was posted by the New York Times, the number of countries that are “at risk of famine” just continues to grow…
    • The list of countries at risk of famine now includes Afghanistan, Syria and Mali. Humanitarian observers also worry that North Korea may be nearing a famine.
    • About 90 million people are facing severe hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. These countries, unfortunately, have their own histories of severe food shortages, but the world has never witnessed all of these countries descending toward mass starvation at the same time.
  • Here in the United States, there is still enough food to go around, but supplies of food have been getting tighter.
  • According to the Farm Bureau, the U.S. actually lost more than 140,000 farms during one recent five-year period…
    • Between 2017 and 2022, the number of farms in the U.S. declined by 141,733 or 7%, according to USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture, released on Feb. 13. Acres operated by farm operations during the same timeframe declined by 20.1 million (2.2%), a loss equivalent to an area about the size of Maine.
  • And the size of the U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been in 73 years…
    • Not many ranchers active today will remember the last time the U.S. cattle industry was this small. On January 1, 2024, the All Cattle and Calves inventory was 87.15 million head, the smallest total inventory since 1951. The All Cattle and Calves inventory is 1.9 percent smaller year over year and is the fifth consecutive year of declining cattle inventories, a total decrease of 7.65 million head or 8.1 percent since the most recent peak in 2019. The 2023 calf crop was 33.6 million head, down 2.5 percent year over year and the smallest calf crop since 2014.

Read the original article by clicking here.

‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ Robert Kiyosaki says the current situation is a perfect storm

Revelations 18:9-11 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore

Important Takeaways:

  • Credit Suisse shares fall to all-time low as bank announces it has found ‘material weakness’ – just hours after Wall Street expert predicted that it would be the next to fall after SVB
  • Credit Suisse shares fell five percent to an all-time low in early trading on Tuesday after the bank confirmed material weaknesses and an $8billion loss in 2022, just hours after a financial expert claimed it would be the next institution to fall following SVB.
  • Last night, Robert Kiyosaki – a metals investor and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad who accurately predicted the 2008 fall of Lehman Brothers – warned during an appearance on Fox Business, that ‘the problem’ is the bond market, and that Credit Suisse – the eighth largest investment bank in the world- was most vulnerable.
  • ‘My prediction, I called Lehman Brothers years ago, and I think the next bank to go is Credit Suisse because the bond market is crashing. The bond market is much bigger than the stock market. The Fed is up and they’re the firemen and the arson,’ he said.
  • On Tuesday morning, Credit Suisse published its annual report which revealed an $8billion loss for 2022.
  • Today, Credit Suisse said the ‘weaknesses’ were down to a ‘failure to design and maintain an effective risk assessment process to identify and analyze the risk of material misstatements’.
  • Kiyosaki… said the current situation is the ‘perfect storm’, with an entire generation of boomers looking to retire.
  • He is also concerned about Biden’s plan to ‘print more fake money’ and inject it into the ‘sick economy’

Read the original article by clicking here.

Northeast rationing heating oil as already high cost of oil is expected to become even higher

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Heating oil company warns ‘perfect storm’ coming this winter unless supplies are replenished
  • Oil executive Sam Livieri issued a stern warning to Americans on the ability to heat their homes as winter draws closer. Livieri said Tuesday that with a low supply of heating oil, the country could see a “perfect storm,” particularly in New England.
  • States in the Northeast are reportedly already rationing heating oil as prices rise.
  • Livieri said prices are roughly 40% higher than in 2021 and are expected to skyrocket when demand reaches its peak in the winter months.
  • Livieri said the high costs are “detrimental,” particularly for the elderly and people on fixed incomes. A 275-gallon tank, he estimated, currently costs consumers more than $1,100 to fill.

Read the original article by clicking here.

UN official warns world is facing a perfect storm with famine at the door

Revelations 18:23 ‘For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Knocking on Famine’s Door’: UN Food Chief Wants Action Now
  • The U.N. food chief is warning that the world is facing “a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm” when it comes to hunger.
  • And urged donors, particularly Gulf nations and billionaires, to give a few days of profits to tackle a crisis with the fertilizer supply right now and prevent widespread food shortages next year.
  • “Otherwise, there’s gonna be chaos all over the world”

Read the original article by clicking here.

‘Tumultuous Times Ahead’ warns Chris Reed after a prophetic dream

Amos 3:7 “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Chris Reed Unveils Prophetic Warning About the Coming ‘Perfect Storm’ for America
  • In a recent prophetic dream, Pastor and MorningStar Ministries CEO Chris Reed says he saw that America is headed for tumultuous times in its future, perhaps to the point where many of the 50 united states will secede from the union before the country is redeemed and renewed.
  • “I believe we are coming upon a perfect storm as we see these events unfolding in the world,” Reed says. “I don’t believe America will be exempt from this. We really need to be in prayer and preparation and warn people around us. Although this will turn out to be successful, there are going to be some bumpy roads ahead. I think more than ever we need to have a prophetic perspective of current events around us.
  • “I had one of the most vivid, detailed dreams I’ve ever had that I believe is from the Lord regarding unfolding events from this point forward,” he adds. “It’s something we really need to take heed as a warning to prepare.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Western nations race to complete Afghan evacuation as deadline looms

(Reuters) – Western nations rushed to evacuate people from Afghanistan on Wednesday as the Aug. 31 deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops drew closer and fears grew that many could be left behind to an uncertain fate under the country’s new Taliban rulers.

In one of the biggest such airlifts ever, the United States and its allies have evacuated more than 70,000 people, including their citizens, NATO personnel and Afghans at risk, since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban swept into the capital Kabul to bring to an end the 20-year foreign military presence.

U.S. President Joe Biden said U.S. troops in Afghanistan faced mounting danger, while aid agencies warned of an impending humanitarian crisis for those left behind.

Biden has spurned calls from allies to extend the deadline, set under an agreement struck by the previous administration of Donald Trump with the hardline Islamist group last year. But he said on Tuesday the deadline could be met.

“The sooner we can finish, the better,” Biden said. “Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was growing concern about the risk of suicide bombings by Islamic State at the airport.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the deadline for evacuating people was up to the last minute of the month.

France said it would push on with evacuations as long as possible but it was likely to end these operations in the coming hours or days.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would try to help Afghans who worked with its soldiers and aid organizations and wished to leave Afghanistan after the deadline expires.

“The end of the air bridge in a few days must not mean the end of efforts to protect Afghan helpers and help those Afghans who have been left in a bigger emergency with the takeover of the Taliban,” she told the German parliament.

Tens of thousands of Afghans fearing persecution have thronged Kabul’s airport since the Taliban takeover, the lucky ones securing seats on flights.

On Wednesday, many people milled about outside the airport – where soldiers from the United States, Britain and other nations were trying to maintain order amid the dust and heat – hoping to get out.

They carried bags and suitcases stuffed with possessions, and waved documents at soldiers in the hope of gaining entry. One man, standing knee-deep in a flooded ditch, passed a child to a man above.

“I learned from an email from London that the Americans are taking people out, that’s why I’ve come so I can go abroad,” said one man, Aizaz Ullah.

While the focus is now on those trying to flee, the risk of starvation, disease and persecution is rising for the rest of the population, aid agencies say.

“There’s a perfect storm coming because of several years of drought, conflict, economic deterioration, compounded by COVID,” David Beasley, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, told Reuters in Doha, saying that about 14 million people were threatened with starvation.

The U.N. human rights chief said she had received credible reports of serious violations by the Taliban, including “summary executions” of civilians and Afghan security forces who had surrendered. The Taliban have said they will investigate reports of atrocities.

The Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule was marked by harsh sharia law, with many political rights and basic freedoms curtailed and women severely oppressed. Afghanistan was also a hub for anti-Western militants, and Washington, London and others fear it might become so again.


The Taliban said all foreign evacuations must be completed by Aug. 31. It has asked the United States to stop urging talented Afghans to leave while also trying to persuade people at the airport to go home, saying they had nothing to fear.

“Foreign troops should withdraw by the deadline. It will pave the way for resumption of civilian flights,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.

“People with legal documents can travel through commercial flights after Aug. 31.”

The Dutch government said it was all but certain that many people eligible for asylum would not be taken out in time.

Dutch troops had managed to get more than 100 people to Kabul airport, Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said, but hundreds of others risked being left behind.

The U.S.-backed government collapsed as the United States and its allies withdrew troops two decades after they ousted the Taliban in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda, whose leaders had found safe haven in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

The Taliban were also switching focus from their military victory to how to run a country in crisis. They have appointed veteran figures to the posts of finance minister and defense minister since wresting control of all government offices, the presidential palace and parliament, two Taliban members said.

Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news agency said Gul Agha had been named as finance minister and Sadr Ibrahim acting interior minister. Former Guantanamo detainee Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir was named acting defense minister, Al Jazeera news channel reported, citing a Taliban source.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Lincoln Feast, Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Angus MacSwan, Giles Elgood and Nick Macfie)

‘Perfect Storm’: Washington virus deaths highlight risk at nursing homes

By Laila Kearney and Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Less than a year after Constantine Valhouli moved his 85-year-old father into a Massachusetts elder-care facility, he is considering bringing his dad back home, his confidence rattled by a deadly coronavirus outbreak at a Washington state nursing home.

The deaths of four residents at the LifeCare long-term care facility in Kirkland has stoked Valhouli’s fears that the virus could spread quickly and quietly in facilities such as the home where his father resides after a series of strokes.

“You’ve got this perfect storm of conditions – the density of residents, the age of residents and the health concerns,” said Valhouli, a Boston resident who works in real estate analytics. “The terrifying part of it is that you can worry about it from a distance, but the minute you’ve got a case, it’s almost too late.”

Virus outbreaks are especially problematic in nursing homes because residents live in close quarters, so infections can spread easily. Older residents also tend to have weaker immune systems and underlying health conditions, making illnesses easier to catch and more dangerous if contracted.

As COVID-19 cases begin to spread across the United States, the Washington deaths have highlighted the vulnerability of older people in general. The elderly are considered the most at risk of dying from the virus, with deaths in China disproportionately affecting people over the age of 80.

“One thing that is clear is that nursing homes and hospitals are potentially at greater risk, and we are really going to have to think hard about what can be done to protect them,” Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a media briefing on Monday.

If the outbreak spreads, Frieden said, U.S. officials might have to consider new steps to protect the more than 1.3 million Americans in nursing homes, such as curtailing visits to reduce the risk of introducing the virus to them.

At LifeCare in Kirkland, a resident in his 70s died over the weekend after contracting coronavirus, becoming the fourth person at the facility to have passed away from the virus as of Monday. Another 27 residents and 25 staff members were reporting symptoms, which can be similar to that of the common flu.

To be sure, the outbreak is not widespread in the United States so far, with only about 100 people across the country testing positive for the virus as of Sunday and six deaths. That compares with more than 87,000 cases worldwide and nearly 3,000 deaths in 60 countries, the World Health Organization said.

Even so, some senior living facilities have already started taking steps to limit their residents’ exposure to the virus.

Era Living, which manages eight independent and assisted living communities in the Seattle area, has begun restricting visitors, the group said on its website.

For now, facilities are working to prevent COVID-19 infections in similar ways that they guard against the flu, David Gifford, chief medical officer for the Agency For Health Care Administration, a non-profit federation of about 13,500 nursing homes and other care facilities, said on a conference call.

One essential weapon that nursing homes have against the flu is not available for coronavirus.

“There is no vaccine for coronavirus, and we know that when we have flu outbreaks, they are just huge. They just sweep through an entire nursing home,” Frieden said.

Keeping the virus away from nursing homes and other facilities with vulnerable residents will likely take restrictions on who can enter the buildings, with no sick people allowed inside, said Frieden. In the meantime, he said more outbreaks similar to the one in Washington are likely.

“This is a sentinel event. We are going to see this elsewhere,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Frank McGurty and Richard Pullin)

WHO extremely concerned about Ebola ‘perfect storm’ in Congo

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker wears a protective suit as he prepares to administer Ebola patient care at The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) treatment center in Beni, North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Fiston Mahamba/File Photo

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday an Ebola outbreak in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo could worsen rapidly because of attacks by armed groups, community resistance and the geographic spread of the disease.

At least 100 people have died in the outbreak, out of 150 cases in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

“We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks and months to create a potential perfect storm,” the WHO’s head of emergency response, Peter Salama, told a news conference in Geneva.

The response is at a critical juncture and, although the weekly number of new cases has fallen from about 40 to about 10 in the past few weeks and more than 11,700 people have been vaccinated, major obstacles remain ahead, Salama said.

Attacks by armed opposition groups have increased in severity and frequency, especially those attributed to the Alliance of Democratic Forces, most dramatically an attack that killed 21 in the city of Beni, where WHO’s operation is based.

The city has declared a “ville morte”, a period of mourning until at least Friday, obliging WHO to suspend its operations.

Overnight on Monday, unidentified assailants entered the town of Oïcha, about 20 km (12 miles) north of Beni, burned houses, killed one man and kidnapped 14 children and one woman, according to two local officials. Oicha has two confirmed cases of the virus and one probable case.

On Monday 80 percent of Ebola contacts — people at risk of developing the disease and so requiring monitoring — and three suspected cases in and around Beni could not be reached for disease monitoring.


Pockets of “reluctance, refusal, and resistance” to accept Ebola vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said.

“We also see a very concerning trend. That resistance, driven by quite natural fear of this terrifying disease, is starting to be exploited by local politicians, and we’re very concerned in the run-up to elections, projected for December, that exploitation… will gather momentum and make it very difficult to root out the last cases of Ebola.”

Some people were fleeing into the forest to escape Ebola follow-up treatment and checks, sometimes moving hundreds of kilometers, he said.

There was one such case to the south of Beni, and another to the north, close to the riverbanks of Lake Albert. Both were inaccessible for security reasons.

Neighboring Uganda was now facing an “imminent threat”, and social media posts were conflating Ebola with criticism of the DRC government and the United Nations and “a range of conspiracy theories”, which could put health workers at risk.

“We will not yet consider the need to evacuate but we are developing a range of contingency plans to see where our staff are best located,” he said.

“If WHO and its partners had to leave North Kivu … we would have grave concerns that this outbreak would not be able to be well controlled in the coming weeks or months.”

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Fiston Mahamba in Goma,; Editing by Andrew Heavens, William Maclean)