Lack of Ingredients Leads to Shortage of Tamales

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Supply chain challenges are creating a shortage of tamales during the holidays -- just when they are in the highest demand.

At the family-owned restaurant Limon's in the heart of Oak Cliff, they are scrambling to find the most basic ingredients.

"Man the last few months it's been really hard for us,” owner David Limon said. “And the situation is because the corn -- the maseca, the masa we use for the tamales -- we barely find it."

On Thanksgiving, the restaurant had to close early after they sold out of tamales early and didn't have enough ingredients to make more.

"We were supposed to close at three,” Limon said. “We closed at one because we were sold out. And we had a lot of people knocking on the door."

A lack of ingredients isn't the only problem.

"The price is going up as well,” Limon said.

Limon said he has no choice but to pass the higher costs onto customers, increasing the price of some of his tamales by 75 cents each.

And it's not just the tamales.

It's also hard to get basic supplies like plastic cups and boxes for carryout, he said.

If that's not enough, the restaurant is closed on Wednesdays now for something else in short supply.

"We don't have any workers,” Limon said. “We only have two ladies who've been with us six or seven years."

Limon said he simply can't find employees.

"No, not anywhere. Nobody wants to work these days."

Not enough food, few workers.

It all adds up to a big headache for restaurant owners like Limon.

"Right now, I don't really see when it's going to get better. It's still getting worse and worse."

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