menu prices

A look at today’s rising menu prices

As rising food costs continue to make headlines, many restaurants have raised their menu prices to help find a balance and offset their increased expenses. Rather than simply upping prices across the board, it’s a good time for restaurants to evaluate their margins, engineer their menus, and adjust pricing to better the bottom line.

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What changes can customers expect to see when they order off the menu these days? While overall menu pricing has gone up about five per cent, on average, some categories have seen much higher increases, according to Technomic’s most recent Industry Insights which breaks down menu pricing year over year by category.

Some restaurants are adding more value items to their menus to attract those customers looking to spend less, but the most dramatic menu increases are happening in those categories that are traditionally the most cost-effective. Menus have seen value meals go up 10.9 per cent and combo meals reach 13.9 per cent more expensive than last year. Kids’ menus are next (+ 9.2 per cent), followed by senior meals (+ 8.5 per cent).

Even though the “value section” has experienced the most dramatic increase, almost all menu items now cost more including add-ons and appetizers, each up 8.2 per cent, and desserts are close behind, up eight per cent over last year. Entrées (+ 5.8 per cent) and side dishes (+ 1.2 per cent) complete the list, experiencing the least amount of inflation to date.

Protein as a category has also seen a year-over-year increase, including nonbread protein appetizers (+14 per cent), other protein dishes (+ 12.1 per cent), and beef dishes (+ 10.2 per cent).

With no end in sight for higher food costs, restaurateurs will need to get creative with their ingredients and their menus to make the most of their margins in 2023.