The effect of rising food costs on restaurant menus
Ryan Sutton is a food critic at Bloomberg News, and he started a tumblr earlier this year to track restaurant price changes. As he wrote on his first post: "If resto closings were the story of the recession, food inflation is the story of the recovery. It's a big deal." We shared the news about rising wholesale food costs (due to rising energy and petroleum costs) in March, but Sutton's observations of the increases reaching restaurants are a whole new bummer.Food costs on the rise
He's reported price hikes from 12 percent (for the twenty-course (!) prix fixe menu at Brooklyn's Brooklyn Fare, now $185, up from $165) to 69 percent (for the three-course menu at NYC's Gordon Ramsey at the London, now $135, up from $110). Though he also reported another interesting price change: Empellon used to charge $16 to $17 for three tacos, but now they charge $12 for two tacos. The tacos are actually more expensive per taco, but that isn't immediately evident when just glancing at the menu. Sneaky.
Sutton recently spoke to Momofuku's David Chang about food inflation and asked why his own prices haven't changed much. The answer: they haven't changed much yet. The full interview is here, but the gist is that, although prices haven't changed yet at his restaurants, they are going to have to. He does say, however, that he wants to find a "happy medium where we're not screwing over the customer and we're not screwing over ourselves."