Customers are seeing restaurant menu prices rise this summer amid inflationary challenges.
“I mean, you come to a restaurant and you see the prices go up maybe two to three dollars, and that affects everything,” Fiaz Ashraf said.
Ahead of the busy restaurant season, Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen in West Hartford raised the price of some of its dishes by more than a dollar.
“Knowing how much product we were going to have to bring in and meeting the demand,” deputy general manager Kara Rosado said.
Rosado said this change happened because they had to keep up with rising food prices.
“Obviously protein has become more expensive and we use everything fresh here, we do a lot of produce and vegetable dishes. All of those things went up a bit,” Rosado explained.
Menu prices rose 7.4% from May 2021 to May 2022 – the biggest annual increase since 1981, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Data shows that the recent increase in menu prices was due to rising food prices. The price index for all food groups jumped 17.8% between April 2021 and April 2022.
In Branford, the USS Chowder Pot has a sign advising customers that due to higher food costs, some items have an extra charge.
“I try to keep prices as low as possible, but when times get tough and prices go up, I have to go up,” said owner John Bencivengo Jr.
John said he increased menu items by about $1 to $2 in May and recently had to increase the price of some lobster dishes, also by $2.
“The lobster meat went sky high and the live lobsters went sky high,” John explained.
Additionally, he said a salad, which was once included as a side dish with entrees, is now priced at $2.
John closely monitors the cost of food and its impact on his business.
“What I can do if the prices keep going down, then I’ll lower some of my menu prices,” John said.
John said he would continue to monitor trends and if there were any further changes they wouldn’t be until after Christmas.