Omaha-area restaurants finding ways to deal with increasing costs during COVID-19 pandemic

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OMAHA, Neb (WOWT) -- Before you step foot inside Sinful Burger in Bellevue, you should already be aware that your burger is going to cost a little bit more.

"So we posted the notice right on the door so people that didn't see the social media post will be able to read it before they walk in. No surprises," the restaurant's co-owner, Jim Nearing, said.

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Nearing said they were forced to charge customers more to keep up with the rising costs of meat. He said he is paying four dollars more for a pound of beef.

"About $6 a pound vs $2 a pound," Nearing added.

The extra amount on your bill is temporary, but Nearing said it is necessary to keep serving customers.

"We're losing money. Every burger we sell right now. We lose money," he explained. "We held on as long as we could. We have to pass along or share it. So we decided to share it. And we're going to eat a dollar and customers will pay a dollar more."

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When ordering takeout from Blue Sushi Sake Grill's website it currently says there is a four percent packaging fee. You can see the charge by clicking the estimated taxes and fees.The website says the charge is 'during corona'. The fee will also show up on your paper receipt.

We spoke with the restaurant's owner, Anthony Hitchcock, who says the fee is not at all related to the pandemic. He says the fee is not new, and it will remain in place. Hitchcock added that there is glitch in the website.

However, some diners said they realize people may not agree with a slightly larger bill.

"It's not great especially for people that aren't working and are wanting to do takeout or dine-in or things like that," Sara Eblen, a frequent customer of local restaurants, said.

However, they understand why businesses are making the decision.

"Down the road, you have to really think about do you want those businesses to still be there? Or would you prefer everything to be closed?" Kristine said while visiting local businesses in downtown Omaha.

As his prices go up, Nearing hopes his customers continue dining with him, and he said he will continue sharing information with them.

"It's not right to surprise people like that. I wouldn't like it," he added.