It’s muttered everywhere—at the gas pump, in the grocery aisle, and probably behind the menus at your restaurants: Everything is so expensive right now. In the wake of the pandemic, consumers, desperate to get back out to “normal” life were faced with severe inflation and rising prices due to supply chain issues, and a new trickle-down effect began.
Restauranteurs have spent the last year trying to coax people back into their dining establishments, only to have to raise prices on hard-to-find items or pass inflated costs along to consumers on their menus. According to this article from Nation’s Restaurant News, “On the operator side, some commodity prices were at their highest levels in decades, forcing average menu price increases up by over 8% just to maintain margins.”
The good news is, the same NRN article suggests that some relief is on the horizon for the 2023 fiscal year. “‘Generally, we should see things like chicken, eggs and maybe dairy come down a bit. There will be opportunities for lower price levels throughout most of 2023 for many commodity-based products’,” said David Maloni, principal at Datum FS.
A closer look at the economy’s interconnectedness, Maloni says, reveals the source of the relief. Wheat and soybean production are slated to rise in 2023—by as much as 20%, as weather allows—and this will jumpstart the availability of other products with higher price tags.
Unfortunately, Maloni’s predictions suggest that the price of beef will be up, but as restaurants have learned how to pivot quickly in these last three years, making menu adjustments based on availability for the sake of some financial relief should be an easier task—especially with the help of a restaurant consultant. “Maloni’s biggest recommendation at the operator level is to be flexible with the menu, including pricing,” states the NRN article. And at National Restaurant Consultants, our team has been designing menus based on cost-analysis and the economy for decades.
Richard Weil, owner and principal at National Restaurant Consultants strongly emphasizes the importance of menu engineering. “Menu engineering with our restaurant consultants is a detailed process of really looking at the menu and understanding which items that are driving sales, profits, and guest satisfaction.” [
Menu design and menu engineering requires trained, big-picture thinking, executed as small shifts and compromises. Our expert team has developed a system of menu organization that works to please customers and save your business money. Contact one of National Restaurants experts for more information and solutions.