As Americans return to restaurants and continue to order takeaway, they are finding that the cost of their meals is increasing.
The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index (for all urban consumers) for limited-serve meals rose 6.9% between August 2020 and August of this year. The cost of full-service meals rose 4.9% over that period.
Below is a sample of restaurant chains raising their prices.
Shake Shack is expected to raise list prices in the fourth quarter of 2021 by 3% to 3.5%, according to FastCasual.com, a trade publication. FastCasual says the expected price increase is about 1% over the chain’s usual 2% annual price hike.
The New York Post, citing a call the company’s CEO had with analysts in early August, predicts that more increases may be necessary in 2022. The newspaper adds that the chain is raising prices to keep pace with inflation and “protect its bottom line.”
Chipotle increased list prices by as much as 4% in June, Bloomberg reports.
The increase was in response to rising labor costs, Chipotle Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung told investors in June. The chain raised wages to $15 an hour in June, from $13, Business Insider says, and expects to add about 30 to 40 cents to the cost of an average chipotle meal.
A number of economic hits have driven up restaurant prices. They include labor shortages, which prompt employers to raise wages to attract workers.
This summer, Taco Bell also struggled with a shortage of key ingredients for its menu, according to CBS News. Taco Bell raised its prices by 10% over the summer, Business Insider reports.
The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain in June raised prices for the second time this year.
The increase was, at least in part, a response to the rising cost of goods, including pork, which is used to make sausage and bacon, Bloomberg says.
The rising labor cost has also reportedly played a role.
Amid strong sales, prices at McDonald’s rose 6% (prices may vary by market) in the second quarter of 2021 versus the same time last year, says a CNBC report on the company’s second-quarter earnings.
Behind the higher prices are increased food and labor costs. CEO Chris Kempzinski said the chain is raising wages and, despite a tight labor market, is seeing more job applicants, especially in states that have reduced unemployment benefits.
At Dunkin’, donuts and coffee may cost more these days. Prices in the chain are up about 8%, according to a Business Insider report.
Adding to the increases in the cost of supplies and labor, the shortage of truck drivers helps drive up transportation costs across the entire industry, says BI.
The Cheesecake Factory is among the restaurant chains that have raised prices recently, according to an analysis by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. Price increases vary by market.
Restaurant Business magazine, an industry publication, notes that restaurants in general have a shortage of “everything from chicken to sauces,” and that shortage is contributing to the high prices.
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