✅ Dozens of restaurants across New Jersey served their last meal in 2023

✅ One owner says businesses have to keep a careful eye on costs

✅ Check our list of favorites that closed in 2023

Dozens of restaurants closed in New Jersey this year for reasons ranging from financial to personal health.

Chris Wood, the owner of Woody's Ocean Grill in Sea Bright and Tinton Falls, says owners not only have to be good cooks but they have to be good in business to succeed by watching their costs very carefully.

Restaurant owners and their families may love being in the business but they sometimes have to face the "perfect storm" of labor and supply chain issues and inflation that can make things hard.

"Most restaurant owners are passionate, most restaurant owners want to be in the business, and they produce a great product. But at the end of the day, you've got to be profitable," Wood told New Jersey 101.5.

"All our costs are increasing, whether it be food, labor, insurance, you name it, it's all going up. And at some point, you just can't raise your prices high enough to cover some of those costs, especially if you're running inefficiently."

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Restaurants that closed in New Jersey During 2023

Here are some of the restaurants that closed their doors around New Jersey in 2023 listed alphabetically. Did your favorite restaurant close in 2023? Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

How to stay open in 2024

Wood said that restaurant owners have to keep an eye on those costs everyday so it doesn't spiral out of control. Using himself as an example Wood said The insurance on his locations went up following a reevaluation by his carrier. It's the kind of cost that a smaller venue may not be able to keep up with, according to Wood.

"I always say this. You've got to keep an eye on the outflow pipe. The inflow pipe has to be bigger than the outflow pipe. If you can manage that and kind of make things work for the fiscal year. then you win. It's just a very, very tough environment where in order to make money year round, especially on the on the shore," Wood said.

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Wood said that despite New Jersey's increase in the minimum wage coming in the new year he is optimistic that 2024 will be a good year.

"Gas prices are down a little bit. Hopefully, people didn't overspend during Christmas. Hopefully, discretionary spending is still there because obviously that's a very important component to restaurant revenue," Wood said.

Includes reporting by Chris Coleman, Jeff Deminski, Harry Hurley, Eric Scott, Steve Trevelise and Erin Vogt

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