Meal prices up, customers tip more

Despite inflation driving up the price of orders, Americans are tipping more and the average price of an order has increased by 7%.

These are the main findings of a study by software and payment company SpotOn, according to a press release.

Over the six months (October 2021 to April 2022), the average tip increased by 9%.

The stats are consistent with the recent Consumer Price Index report which shows full-service dining is up 8.7% and takeout is up 7.2% over the past 12 months. This is the largest 12-month increase since the index’s inception in 1997 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists say the trend of higher tips correlates with diners having pent-up savings thanks to the pandemic.

The Producer Price Index revealed that food prices rose 12.8% year-on-year: 22% for grains, 36.4% for cooking oils and a whopping 43 .9% for beef and veal. These spikes forced restaurants to adjust prices across the board.

“Pricing is a challenge right now because inflation rates have gone up,” Chuck Conrose, owner of Tony’s NY Pizza in Fort Meyers, Fla., said in the release. “Prices have gone up, so we need to offset that by raising our prices for our customers. It’s not something I like to do, but we need to pass those costs on so we can all make money and stay in business.”

Highlights of the menu report included:

  • Pizzas: 7% increase.
  • Tacos: 10.5% increase.
  • Avocado: 4% increase.
  • Wine: 6% increase.
  • Diet Coke/Coke: 5% increase.
  • Shrimp: 14% increase.
  • Lobster: 8% increase.
  • Crab: 11% increase.

“The fluctuating market will continue to present challenges in maintaining a healthy profit margin for restaurants,” Kevin Bryla, head of customer experience at SpotOn, said in the statement. “We are actively working alongside our restaurant customers to ensure they have the technology they need to reduce costs, maximize their workforce, optimize operational efficiencies and generate revenue, so they can increase their profit margins – point by point.”

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