Menu Price Inflation: The State of Rising Food Costs for Restaurants

Sep 26, 2022

According to the Consumer Price Index Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices are up 11.4% from August 2021 to August 2022. Government officials have noted global events such as the pandemic, drought conditions, the war in Ukraine, and the sanctions imposed on Russia as the defining events of these historically high inflation increases.

egg prices

Across the Board

Inflation has affected virtually all the food supplies. The price of meats, poultry, and fish has increased by 8.8%, fruits and vegetables are up 9.4%, milk is up 17%, and the price of eggs has increased by 39.8%.

Consumers are trying to cut corners when purchasing food in grocery stores, and so are restaurants. Unfortunately, restaurants have had to raise prices on their menus to try and offset some of their higher food costs.


Menu Pricing is Increasing

This year, restaurants have needed to increase their menu prices by 9% to keep up with the increased food costs and employee wages. These price increases may continue for a while, which will undoubtedly cause a strain on the consumer and the restaurant owners.

The menu price increases have not kept up with the increasing rate of food costs. Many restaurants absorb the added expenditures, so they don’t alienate their customers by increasing menu prices too much.

An excellent example of restaurant owners’ dilemma is the price of French fries that many establishments offer on their menus. In many locations throughout the United States, the price of a 30-lb box of french fries has almost doubled; however, most restaurant customers would not pay twice as much for their fries.


Compromise Pays Off

Consumers understand the increased cost of food because they shop at the grocery store and have experienced the financial squeeze. When dining at a restaurant, patrons know they are paying its food and operating costs; however, it is apparent the restaurants have tried very hard to keep reasonable menu prices.

The difference between a steak dinner at home and ordering one in a restaurant is only a few dollars. At today’s costs, a salad topped with a chicken breast, can be less expensive with less waste, by ordering it in a restaurant.

Restaurants represent more than a place to eat for most customers–it also represents an opportunity to be with family and friends. Eateries also provide a place to experience first meetings, celebrations, and conversations. They also clean up afterward.

dining in 2022


Because of the pandemic, consumers have had little social interaction for a few years. The restaurants that have survived are struggling due to inflationary food and operating costs. Consumers can–and are willing to– continue supporting their favorite restaurants and employees by accepting an increase in menu prices for the convenience of eating out.


Menu Re-engineering

The present moment is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your menu—what items are underperforming? Which are your most popular? Which items are costing you the most? How can you re-engineer your recipes to provide better margins? Going at it alone can be daunting, which is why Synergy is available for professional menu development.


You may also be interested in our article, Inflation and Restaurants: How to Respond.