Growth in menu prices continued to rise sharply in November, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average menu prices increased 5.8% between November 2020 and November 2021, which represented the strongest 12-month gain since 1982.
Grocery store prices also accelerated in recent months, jumping 6.4% above year-ago levels. That marked the largest 12-month increase in grocery store prices since 2008. Meanwhile, the 6.8% increase in overall consumer prices represented the highest inflation rate since 1982.
The recent uptick in menu prices was due largely to higher input costs – particularly food and labor. In a November 2021 survey fielded by the Association, 91% of operators said their total food costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, 79% of operators said their total labor costs (as a percent of sales) are higher than they were before the pandemic.
Prices for limited-service meals and snacks increased 7.9% between November 2020 and November 2021, while fullservice restaurant menu prices were up 6.0%. Both represented the strongest 12-month gains since the segment-specific menu-price data series began in 1998.
Fullservice and Limited-service Menu Prices
On a regional level, the Midwest (7.2%) and Northeast (6.9%) regions experienced the strongest menu-price gains between November 2020 and November 2021. Average menu prices in the West (5.1%) and South (4.9%) regions posted smaller gains during the last 12 months.
Track more economic indicators and read more analysis and commentary from the Association’s chief economist Bruce Grindy.
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