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Rise in seafood costs forcing sushi restaurants to roll with it and get creative

Sushi
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 18:55:22-04

CLEVELAND — Inflation has effected so many things, but now sushi restaurants having to make changes due to the increased price of seafood.

“A lot of the popular items like the tuna, scallops, and crab that goes in the California roll, those items are up 20% to almost 60%,” said CEO of Sora, Alex Di Iorio.

Seafood is in just about every sushi roll you can think of at Sora, whether served sliced or rolled, but with the change in costs across the board, Di Iorio says they have had to get creative to ensure the quality isn’t lost.

“We look at the dish in its entirety and think okay, well what can we do to either save money on this dish or make it more valuable?” Di Iorio said. “Are we able to make an ingredient substitution that accomplishes the same flavor profile?”

They are not alone. Johnathan Ernest, Assistant Professor of Economics in the School of Management at Case Western Reserve, says the increased price of seafood is just one piece of the nationwide increase.

“Lots of different products have become much more expensive,” said Ernest, attributing the increases to a broken supply chain, increased price of gas and/or more money in the economy.

“So if we double the number of dollars and have the same amount of goods, then essentially everything's just going to cost twice as much more eventually," said Ernest.

But Ernest believes "eventually" won't be too far off.

“So we shouldn't expect prices to continue rising, you know, 10% year over year for a long period of time going forward,” he said.

Businesses like Sora keep pushing through. Di Iorio says they will continue to provide the same quality for the same price, even with the increase in costs.

“In the short term yes, we're taking it on the chin a little bit in terms of profit, but that's for a much bigger game,” he said. “I would rather make less money selling to more guests than make more money selling to fewer guests.”

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