It should also be noted that plenty of new restaurants have been opening and many popular places are changing hands, said CJ Seitz of Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center. Simmering Tava recently opened in downtown Bellingham, for example, while Skylark’s Hidden Cafe in Fairhaven was recently purchased by Brad Haggen.
The key for restaurant owners to handle the changes is planning, said Seitz in an email. That includes looking at the financial impacts and what can be done to offset the new costs. That could include raising prices, cutting staff hours or trimming menu items.