Surge in meat costs prompts Hawaii restaurants to raise prices

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Whether it’s a filet mignon or baby back ribs, businesses say the price of meat has been going up.

For many restaurants, there’s no choice but to pass the added cost on to customers.

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At Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant, beef is one of their main ingredients and a big part of their food costs.

“Cost of meat has gone up probably about 30% for us over the past year, and we use only prime and choice cuts,” said Ichiriki Manager Baron Wong. “Recently, we had to raise our prices by a dollar on each dish. That was something we were forced to do.”

The Butcher and Bird in Kakaako also says they’ve seen at least a 30% to 40% increase in USDA prime beef prices.

“I think it’s a result of really contracting and cutting down to make businesses more cost efficient during the pandemic, and you know when you’re growing something that takes a couple years to get to the size where it can be processed, you’re going to be behind the eight ball a little bit because you have to catch back up with the herds and the production and everything,” said owner Chuck Wakeman.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association says restaurants in Hawaii saw a slow increase of the price of protein in April which accelerated rapidly in May, when the cost of beef was 11% to 25% higher. Pork is up 5%. A spokeswoman says reasons include cost of fuel to ship to the islands and the temporary shutdown of mainland processing plants that had COVID-19 cases. HRA says the recent cyberattack that closed down a large meat process plan also has some businesses concerned.

For Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies in Manoa, the cost of mostly everything went up.

“One day I was looking, I went, what? This chicken is $2.69 a pound and it was $1 less not too long ago. So it kind of like, you know, everything’s going up,” said owner Andy Rodrigues.

They too made the hard decision to increase their prices but are grateful for their loyal customers.

“And they’re always thanking us. Thanks for being open,” said owner Norma Rodrigues. “And I always tell our customers that as long as we have God with us in our lives, He never fails. He’s with us all the time.”

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