As Americans flock back to restaurants and continue to order take-out, they are finding that the cost of their meal is increasing.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest consumer price index (for all urban consumers) for limited-service meals rose 6.9% between August 2020 and August of this year. The cost of full-service meals rose 4.9% over that period.
Following is a sample of restaurant chains hiking their prices.
Shake Shack is expected to hike menu prices in the fourth quarter of 2021 by 3% to 3.5%, reports FastCasual.com, a trade publication. The anticipated price increase is about 1% over the chain’s typical 2% yearly price hike, FastCasual says.
The New York Post, citing the company CEO’s call with analysts in early August, predicts more increases may be necessary in 2022. The chain is raising prices to keep pace with inflation and “protect its bottom line,” the newspaper says.
Chipotle increased menu prices by as much as 4% in June, Bloomberg reports.
The increase was a response to higher labor costs, Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung told investors in June. The chain raised wages to $15 an hour in June, from $13, says Business Insider, predicting that will add about 30 to 40 cents to the cost of the average Chipotle meal.
A number of economic blows are spurring higher restaurant prices. They include labor shortages, which spur employers to raise wages to attract workers.
The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain in June hiked prices for a second time this year.
The increase was at least in part a response to the rising cost of commodities, including pork, which is used to make sausage and bacon, says Bloomberg.
The rising cost of labor 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 CNBC’s report on the company’s second-quarter earnings.
Behind the higher prices were increased costs for food and labor. The chain is raising wages and, despite the tight labor market, is seeing more job applicants, especially in states that have curbed unemployment benefits, said CEO Chris Kempczinski.
At Dunkin’, your donuts and coffee could cost more these days. Prices at the chain are up about 8%, Business Insider reports.
Adding to increases in the cost of supplies and labor, a shortage of truck drivers is helping to run up transportation costs across the entire industry, BI says.
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory is among the restaurant chains that recently hiked prices, according to an analysis by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. Price increases vary by market.
Restaurant Business, an industry publication, notes that in general, eateries are experiencing shortages of “everything from chicken to sauces,” and those shortages contribute to higher prices.