Restaurants fear rising fuel costs could jeopardize recovery

Two years after getting back on their feet, metro Atlanta restaurateurs are increasingly worried that rising commodities prices — especially gasoline — could end their industry’s tenuous return to good health.

Operators say fuel surcharges on food deliveries — common the first time gas prices reached $4 a gallon in 2008 — are again being used by distributors as they grapple with increasing transportation costs. Bills for many staple commodities, such as beef and corn, are skyrocketing as it becomes more expensive to get them to stores.

Diners, so far, seem immune to the gas price hikes, restaurant operators said. Customer traffic has not slowed down as paying at the pump has become more costly, though restaurateurs admit it is too early to draw conclusions with certainty.

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