HONOLULU (KHON2) — Supply chain issues have impacted everyday items including the main ingredients in plate lunches, and most places that sell them are passing the cost on to you.
“It’s just random things, and it just depends where you are as well,” said Bryan Andaya, L&L Hawaii COO. “Shortages on mayonnaise and certainly the price has gone up a lot, but all of a sudden we have locations having trouble getting mayonnaise or having to wait or having their orders slashed. I think it has to do with the chickens and laying the eggs.”
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He said there are also a lot of items stuck on ships waiting to dock.
“I’ve heard rice prices going up astronomically that’s maybe related to some of the storms,” he continued. “The climate in California where most of the rice is produced.”
He said most restaurants have no choice but to pass the high costs on to the consumer.
“If you don’t, then you might not be in business very long,” he said. “So you see now its common you know $15 plate lunches getting up there even up to $20.”
“That’s kind of the new normal, and I’m not sure how long that’s going to last,” Andaya said.
He said he’s been forced to raise his prices twice in the last six months by 20%, and he said it’s still not enough.
Fried foods are also going to start costing more because the price of cooking oil is through the roof.
“It’s gone from a price of about $20 for a five-gallon tub,” explained Simply Ono owner Harris Sukita. “It’s now up to $57. It’s almost tripled.”
He said it’s concerning going to the store and not seeing basic items too.
“For two weeks in a row, we didn’t have access to rice, why?” he said. “I have no idea, and salt was out,”
“Beef, say for a hamburger, the price is pretty much almost doubled, so we have tried to keep our prices down because you know everybody’s going through a hard time,” he said.
Sukita said he’s trying to not make as many fried foods and said the price of fish is also very expensive, and won’t have it on the menu if the price is up.
He said he has slowly brought his prices up about .25 to .50 cents.
In a statement, Zippy’s President said they aren’t immune to the global supply chain shortages and shipping backlogs either.
We have seen prices for almost all staple items increase. Prices of our coffee, proteins, starches, even packaging containers have all skyrocketed or been affected by delays in the past six months, and we’ve been alerted to potential new shortages in the months to come. We made price adjustments this past month, but we may be forced to consider new ones in the near future as well.Paul Yokota, President of FCH Enterprises, the parent company of Zippy’s Restaurants
Many owners are trying hard not to pass the costs on to the consumer.
“My grandpa always said to keep the prices as low as possible and give a lot of food which we’re known for, but there’s going to come a time where we need to raise prices a little bit,” said Chris Iwamura, Rainbow Drive-In CEO. “Bill 40 is coming up, and just the cost of goods, also, we want to keep our employees on regular raises.”
On January 1, 2022, single-use plastics will be banned, forcing restaurant owners to spend more on compostable items.
With all the increases, many worry smaller mom-and-pop restaurants might not make it.
“We’re lucky enough where we have just kind of like a tighter menu,” said Iwamura. “I feel bad for those who have a bigger menu and the small kind of things you’re trying to find everywhere.”
“We can bite the bullet on some of it, but most of it will have to go back to the consumer,” said Sukita regarding Bill 40. “And it’s going to be a really bad timing because of the supply chain thing. That’s the big problem, and running out of food. If a lunch truck doesn’t have rice, what do you do? You can’t be just doing sandwiches.”
He said if costs get to be too much, he and his wife will retire.
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“We had fun over all these years,” Sukita said. “We’ve made some money, and I wish we can continue. I think we will. But it kind of depends on the prices of everything. The taxes that we have to pay. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s got to be tough.”