Salt Lake City restaurant forced to cut hours and increase prices because of inflation



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A local restaurant is cutting its hours back and increasing food prices due to inflation hitting them hard.

The owner of Mazza, a Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant, Ali Sabbah, said the last few years have been tough for the business.

"The losses financially were to the point where my wife and I were thinking we may have to declare bankruptcy and sell the house and pay off the debtors," Sabbah recalled.

He said he had to close other locations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but federal economic relief helped him to stay in business.

"Lucky for us, the federal government stepped in and helped us," Sabbah said.

And even though the Salt Lake City restaurant is bustling, he is forced to make some difficult decisions.

"Some of the supplies that we had were costing us twice as much or more. These are the big ticket items. Lamb, beef, meat," Sabbah explains.

He said that everything costs more, from the spices to maintenance.

"What cost me $1,000 to fix now costs me over $2,000. It's just an unbelievable amount," Sabbah said. "When I receive the invoices, it just doesn't make sense."

That's why changes on the menu and at the door came as a gut punch to its regulars. Mazza is opening later and closing earlier on weekdays, meals cost 10% more, and some items are unavailable.

"I know every time I cut one of the items off the menu that I'm going to have people being very disappointed," Sabbah said.

He wishes to return to the days when customers could come in and order "the usual."

"I'm hoping that this changes at some point and we're able to reopen, but I'm really not sure," Sabbah said. "We know most people who walk through. We've seen them many times. They're friends."

But for now, Mazza is doing what it can to keep the doors open, even if it's only for a little bit.

"You have to, at the end of the month, have money in the bank so you can pay your employees to pay your bills and make a living."

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InflationBusiness & TechUtah
Shelby Lofton and Michael Houck

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