Skyrocketing Meat Costs May Prompt Restaurant Price Increases in the Chicago Area

A number of grocery stores have upped meat costs, but that's not the case for all

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As a result of soaring meat costs, Americans might soon have to dish out more money than usual at restaurants, including in the Chicago area.

Multiple restaurant executives tell NBC 5 the higher meat prices are due to supply not keeping up with demand and labor shortages at meat processing facilities.

"Steaks, they went up about 20 to 25 percent extra cost," explained Luca Corrazina, executive chef of Tavern on Rush. "Fish, we’re talking about 50 to a 100 percent extra cost."

Corrazina said the Chicago steakhouse is surviving by volume and taking care of its customers.

"We’re charging a little bit extra, but they understand, and that’s all we can do," the chef explained.

Greg Stinton, a rib champion who opened Small Batch Barbecue in Forest Park in 2019, said he might not have a choice other than to increase prices.

"We try and absorb the increases that we feel for our raw proteins as much as we can, but it’s reached a point now where we can’t really do that any longer," he said.

Depending on where you shop, you might see higher meat prices at the grocery store, too. At Carnival Grocery in Oak Park, the store plans to absorb the costs - at least for now.

"We're a community grocer, so we've held our prices," Owner Arthur Paris said. "We haven’t raised them at all. I think if you go into the chain stores you’ll find that the prices are up dramatically."

Stinton, the owner of Small Batch Barbecue, said he hopes the price increase is temporary.

"This is generally the sort of thing that sort of comes and goes," he said. "I haven't seen signs that this is going to be super long-lasting."

According to the Illinois Beef Association, "unprecedented circumstances" in the beef supply chain are driving the increased price of beef at grocery stores and restaurants.

While prices have increased at large grocers, the association said that value hasn't extended to family farmers, explaining many farmers are "barely breaking even" on selling cattle this year.

"It’s a very frustrating situation for the average cattle farmer facing the reality that making a profit is becoming increasingly more challenging, meanwhile consumers are paying such high prices," the association said in an email.

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