inflation challenges

Restaurants Increasing Menu Prices to Keep Up with High Food Cost

Restaurants increased menu prices ahead of the summer season to keep up with high food cost amid record high inflation.

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Customers are seeing restaurant menu prices go up this summer season amid inflation challenges.

“I mean, you come to the restaurant and you see the prices going up two to three dollars maybe, and it has an effect on everything,” Fiaz Ashraf said.

Ahead of the busy dining out season, Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen in West Hartford increased the price of some of their dishes upwards of a dollar.

“Knowing how much product we were going to have to bring in and to keep up with demand,” said Assistant General Manager Kara Rosado.

Rosado said that change took place because they need to keep up with rising food prices.

“Obviously proteins have become more expensive and we use everything fresh here, we do a lot of produce and vegetable dishes. All of those things have increased a little bit,” Rosado explained.

Menu prices increased 7.4%  from May 2021 to May 2022 - the largest yearly spike since 1981, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Data shows the recent increase in menu prices was due to higher food costs. The price index for all food groups jumped 17.8% between April 2021 to April 2022.

In Branford, the U.S.S. Chowder Pot has a sign notifying customers that due to higher food costs, some items have an upcharge.

“I try to keep the prices as low as I can, but when times are rough and prices go up, I got to go up,” said Owner John Bencivengo Jr.

John said he increased menu items by about $1 to $2 in May and most recently had to increase the price of some lobster dishes, also by $2.

“Lobster meat went sky-high and the live lobsters went sky high,” John explained.

In addition, he said a salad, which used to be included as a side dish with entrees, is now priced at $2.

John is keeping a close eye on food cost and how it will impact his business. 

“What I can do if the prices keep coming down, then I will lower some of my menu prices,” John said.

John said he will continue to monitor trends and if there are any more changes, they will not be until after Christmas.

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