Inflation forces restaurant price hikes and closures

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many restaurants are facing tough decisions as food prices, transportation and labor continue to rise. At least one long-time mom-and-pop restaurant is calling it quits as operating expenses climb too high.

It is Dean’s Mashima’s teriyaki beef steak and ahi cakes that many have grown to love, but the days to order them now are counted. He will be closing Dean’s Drive Inn in July. Mashima said by crunching the numbers, they decided it no longer made sense to remain open.

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Mishima said, “It was a really tough decision but the rising of you know supplies, paper supplies, meat, poultry, fish has really risen so high that we can’t stay open. It’s really high.”

Mishima said the restaurant took a turn during the pandemic, and it has been one hit after another. They renovated last year after a flood but now have not reopened their dining room due to the lack of staff.

He said the rising cost with inflation was the final straw.

July 10 will be their final day open.

Mishima said, “I think a lot of restaurant’s small mom and pop are facing, they are going through the same issues at this time. It’s tough.”

It is not just mom-and-pop businesses that are feeling the squeeze, some franchise restaurants are also having to adjust.

The Raising Cane’s Marketing Leader Ali Urbick said costs are up across the board. She said chicken has gone up significantly, by about 30%.

Urbick said, “Food costs are up by about 13% over the prior year and they keep going up, so every time we think they are going to come down a little bit, they don’t, they keep going up.”

This means Raising Cane’s will be raising prices.

“October through December they took a price increase of 2% to 3%,” Urbick said. “A lot of those restaurants are taking a price increase now of about 3% to 4%, I know that most of the major chains have done that.”

In the course of a year, Raising Cane’s will be increasing prices by about 7%, which Urbick said is unprecedented but necessary.

She is confident prices will level off and eventually come down, but the question remains, when? For smaller restaurants, they can no longer wait and see.

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Mishima said, “We had a good run, a good 17-year run you know we met a lot of new customers, new friends we came really close like family to all of our customers.”

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