It is getting to make or break time for the food business regarding the cost of living crisis and in the case of menus the price of putting food or drink on your eating out table crisis. Many places will not make it to the New Year. It really is an emergency as the reality of the situation is simply the customer will no longer be able to afford to eat out and the food business will no longer be able to operate a viable service. It will result in less and less outlets to dine out in and a shrinkage of the market as only the public with no money worries or limits will be future customers. Add to this the fact that hospitality is at the bottom of the career choice ladder for school leavers and the trade has had an exodus from industry before, during and post covid then the pain is only worse again for owners and operators. It will be back to the seventies where hardly anyone ate out except the well to do or those with a special occasion to celebrate.
In the space of the last six to twelve months basic essential ingredients like say meat and cooking oil have doubled and tripled to buy in never mind the price of energy to cook the food and the heat and light for a premises have had the same increases. Now for what is a tight margin sector, you are talking low single digit net margins by the way; the maths will just not add up without the punter playing their part to keep the restaurant doors open. With hardly any inflation for twenty years a whole generation have been living at a standstill of just not having the experience of annual price rises. They will strike for their higher wages ironically.
The most frustrating part is that a lot of customers still do not manage to equate the fact that their own domestic shopping bill has risen substantially but they object to menu pricing being adjusted accordingly as well. All the food is coming from the same place be it to supermarkets or commercial whole sellers.
Restaurants in America with its huge eating out culture have resorted to posting notices on their windows showing the increases in the price of basic ingredients to justify their price hikes so that regular customers will not get irate.
The new extortionate price of fertilizer and transport internationally for example and shortage of labour never mind the war in Ukraine has had huge impacts on food commodities and the inflation dial has only started to turn, wait until you see the prices next year. The bigger picture detail is always far too removed, boring and complicated for the average member of the public to focus in on but when it hits the home energy and eating bills like it has already then their attention is really grabbed.
There has never been so many people seeking help from food banks and you will soon be paying close to a fiver for a takeaway coffee so you will not be having those treats as much in the future. A couple of hot drinks a day may cost you fifty bucks a week soon and that is some price for a caffeine hit you can make yourself in a staff canteen or office tea station for fifty cents from a three euro jar of instant.
You do not have to pay thirty per cent labour and employer costs, then the same on buying the ingredients and the rest on rent, rates, insurance and the other fifty or so overheads your take out cup of coffee entails that will make it a fiver at the till.
It will be certainly a case of battening down the hatches this winter in more ways than one. So if your local cafe or bar is hiking up the prices then just pay up or don’t bother buying anything, go home and just don’t give out. There are a myriad of reasons for these rises and your custom if you can afford it is still very much appreciated every time.