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Data shows Wisconsin's restaurant industry hitting an all-time low

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Between rising costs and staffing challenges, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association says Wisconsin's restaurant industry is one of the most impacted in the country, and experts see no end in sight.

According to a survey the WRA sent out last week, 93 percent of restaurants throughout the Badger State have higher operating costs, and 73 percent say they do not have enough employees to support existing demand.

Additionally, about three-quarters of businesses who responded to the survey say they are less profitable now than in any other year of operation.

"We know in Wisconsin, we have a demographic problem. We have almost zero population growth and by 2035 it's expected to go negative," said WRA President Kristine Hillmer. "Those that retire or are leaving, or those passing away, they're going to exceed the birth rate and those coming into our market."

Those issues, along with the everyday problems businesses are dealing with leave many restaurants to feel the pressures of increased menu costs, shortened hours and doing just about anything they can to stay profitable.

Experts say this is becoming more of a challenge day by day, and they're not sure what the future holds for many restaurants in central Wisconsin.

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