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High beef, lime prices hitting Valley restaurants

PHOENIX — Arizona restaurant owners are facing shrinking profit margins due to the steadily increasing cost of beef and the shortage of limes in Mexico.

“It’s incredibly difficult,” said Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association. “This is our peak season right now. It’s almost an aligning of the planets and it’s wreaking havoc when it comes to the commodities that restaurants depend on.”

Currently, Arizona restaurant owners are not increasing menu prices, which is a tough decision to make.

“If your competitors aren’t raising prices, it’s tough to raise yours,” said Chucri. “They just have to swallow hard and just accept the fact that you will, for a few months, have less of a profit.”

Beef prices have hit high not recorded since the late 1980s. Currently, USDA fresh beef is priced at nearly $5.50 per pound.