LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “We’ve all been trying to get back to the so-so norm,” said Matt Gillett, co-owner of Saddleback BBQ.

Restaurant owners are trying to get back on their feet, but one of the owners of Saddleback BBQ said
it’s hard to see other local restaurants closing.

“It saddens me. Some of these restaurants are friends of mine. And I know how much the restaurant business means to them.” Gillet said.

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association said this is happening throughout the state, with around 10% of restaurants in Michigan closing so far this year.

“It’s a difficult climate to be in right now. Places are struggling all over,” said Mason Doerr, vice president of government relations for the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.

He said there are many reasons why these places are closing, including staffing problems, rising costs for food, a decrease in people coming to restaurants and the fear of a possible recession.

“Nobody really knows what’s going to happen, and it’s scary for the industry,” said Doerr. He said many places in Michigan are seeing an increase in national chains moving in, that can hurt local restaurants.

“Every time I see a chain go where a local restaurant used to be, it just takes away from the soul of East Lansing [and] Lansing,” said Clayton Cornwell, a Lansing resident.

With restaurants having many obstacles to overcome right now, the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association said the best way to keep restaurants in business is to eat out.

“Support their local bars and restaurants if they have the means to do so. Because it will certainly help the industry right now and we need it,” Doer said.