Price of Dining Out in Colorado Increases

by | Aug 16, 2023 | blog, Business, Industry News, National Restaurant Consultants, Special menu, Trends | 0 comments

According to a recent report by Blueprint using U.S. Census data, the cost of dining out is increasing everywhere, shared USA Today.  And while this likely comes as no shock because of inflation and increased living costs in every category nationwide, the hard numbers are astounding, with reports of restaurant spending increases of “nearly 10% nationwide in just the last six months, or an average of $222 spent on eating food prepared by someone else every month.” 

Dining costs are up everywhere, but no place is as hard-hit as Colorado, where our National Restaurant Consultants (NRC) offices are based. Local news station KDVR reported, “in the Centennial State, it has gone up the most at 24% from $91.45 in November 2022 to $112.95 in June 2023.” NRC also has a satellite office in Arizona, where cost hikes are just a percentage point below Colorado.

According to the Blueprint study, increased dining costs are mostly attributed to the rise in food costs, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture sites is up 6% since 2023 began. What’s more OpenTable reservations are down 1% nationwide, suggesting, as USA Today reported, “people are going out to eat less but when they do, its taking a bigger bite out of their budgets.”

While this inflation is seriously impacting the cost of dining out in Colorado, Colorado restaurants are still not the most expensive in the country. Even with food and cost-of-living soaring, the inflation impact still keeps Coloradoans’ average of $21.50 per person below the average dining costs in other states, such as Hawaii, where recent natural disaster will only create more expense.

Supply chain and inflation issues have tormented businesses since the pandemic in 2020, and both restaurants and consumers are still recovering. When it comes to menu design and profit margins during an inflation spike, NRC has this advice: “With fall quickly approaching, complete a menu engineering of your top twenty items to be sure that you are properly positioned to meet the needs of  your customers and restaurant,” says Richard Weil, principal and owner of NRC. “The core menu items should drive, not only sales, but margin dollars. Consider also how you position these menu items in front of your guests. A deep dive into your menu and product mix will provide valuable information as to how you can increase sales, improve margins, and also attracts and retains guests.”

In order to navigate business in the current economic client, consider working with one of our restaurant consultants to assist you in maximizing the most valuable marketing item–your menu! Our industry knowledge spans decades and several economic cycles. Coupled with our expertise in hiring and training, menu engineering, and business plans, we can work with you to keep your business profitable even in uncertain economic times.