A restaurant owner in Belfast has revealed the soaring cost of his ingredients is proving 'immensely difficult' for his business.
John Lavery, who owns Fish City on Ann Street and employs 30 staff, says the rising energy costs could be absorbed but combined with other factors it could force further closures in the industry.
''It's the cost of raw materials, ingredients, salaries the fact that Northern Ireland has the least expendable income in the UK this causes us great concern,'' he told UTV.
''Everyone is aware of the inflationary figures but for hospitality it's even higher. The price of our cod has gone up 122%, chicken has gone up 70%, Mayonnaise is up 43% cooking oil is up from 40-70%.
"There's nowhere to hide. Staff costs up 25%. It's just not possible to absorb anymore and it's crushing for business.''
Mr Lavery also accepted that consumer and businesses have yet to feel the full force of food inflation.
''We are very aware that there is more to come, this year planting has yet been harvested. The costs of crops and fertilizer is horrendous and the war in Ukraine will mean scarcity all around,'' he added.
''My concern is will I be able to remain in business? I don't have a crystal ball but next year is very concerning.''
''Quite frankly I don't remember a time worse than this. I worked in the meat sector before and foot and mouth and BSE or mad cow disease that impacted the industry greatly but that was a walk in the park compared to what we are going through today.''
Hospitality Ulster has warned hundreds of businesses will be forced to close by September as costs increase.
Chief Executive Colin Neil has described the cost of living crisis as worse than the Covid pandemic.
''Covid was a once in a lifetime challenge we thought, the cost of living crisis - energy, labour, raw materials is rocketing and the difference is there is no help.''
''Where there's problems we are addressing those but there are things outside of our control but like reducing the VAT rate for hospitality, a reduction in rates and tackling fuel which has got crazy.''
He said: ''It's affecting all the costs for us but also our consumer and we have to increase the spending power of consumers. The discretionary income we are at the tail end of that. When things get tight people will stay at home and have a meal in or a glass of wine.''
Mr Neil fears that if nothing is done there will be business failures.
''We are already starting to see that. Our industry buys a third of agri-food. If we retract, so will they. That's jobs in other sectors.
"Two thirds of tourism spend is with us. You have to have somewhere to stay, somewhere to eat. We're the fourth largest private sector employer. If we are affected it affects the wider economy'', he warned.