Eating Out May Get Pricier
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Eating Out May Get Pricier


We all know the state of the economy in the US (and world), and some things are expected to get worse. Restaurants are already seeing fewer patrons and less money coming in. Food costs are up, which means restaurants are raising their prices.

The price of commodities like beef and chicken are up, not to mention varying fuel prices. Many chains are taking certain foods off of their "dollar" menus or 2 for $3 promotions (why you need two double cheeseburgers is also something you want to ask yourself).

"This is the most challenging environment for restaurant operators regarding food price inflation on the wholesale level for almost 30 years," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association.

Increase in food prices:

  • 2006: Less than 1%
  • 2007: 7.6%
  • 2008 (through August): 8.7%

Restaurants have no other choice than to pass on the higher food prices to you. Menu prices for restaurants have only averaged a 4.2% so far this year.

Since economics is all about supply and demand, think about why prices are going up. The price of feed is going up, so more farmers are either going out of business or reducing their production. When the supply goes down, the prices go up. Beef and chicken are expected to go up between 5 and 9% in 2009.

While I do want to support the restaurants, it is difficult when money is tight for everyone. Eat at home, shop grocery store sales, but eat out for special occasions instead of habit. If you do eat out, split a meal to reduce portions. This will help your waistline and your pocketbook!

Photo courtesy of thismamacooks.com

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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