Inflation forces sushi restaurants to get creative

CLEVELAND — So many things have been affected by inflation, but now sushi restaurants are having to make adjustments as seafood prices rise.

“Many popular items such as tuna, scallops and crab, which are part of California rolls, are up 20% to 60%,” Sora CEO Alex Di Iorio said.

Seafood is in just about every sushi roll you can imagine at Sora, whether it’s served sliced ​​or rolled, but Di Iorio says that with price changes across the board, they’ve had to get creative to ensure that quality will not be lost. .

“We look at the whole dish and think: OK, what can we do to save money on this dish or make it more valuable?” Di Iorio said. “Can we make ingredient substitutions that provide the same flavor profile?”

They are not alone. Jonathan Ernest, assistant professor of economics at the Case Western Reserve School of Management, says the rise in seafood prices is only part of a nationwide rise.

“Many different products have become much more expensive,” Ernest said, attributing the growth to a broken supply chain, higher gas prices and/or more money in the economy.

“So if we double the amount of dollars and have the same amount of goods, then essentially everything ends up costing twice as much,” Ernest said.

But Ernest believes that “eventually” is not far off.

“So we shouldn’t expect prices to keep going up, you know, 10% year on year for a long period of time,” he said.

Companies like Sora continue to forge ahead. Di Iorio says they will continue to provide the same quality at the same price, even as costs increase.

“In the short term, yes, we’re taking a bit of a risk in terms of profits, but that’s for a much bigger game,” he said. “I would rather make less money selling more guests than I would make more money selling fewer guests.”

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