Higher Costs Eating Nation’s Lunch Business
By Jeff Flores
In 2016, Americans made 433 million fewer lunchtime trips to restaurants than in 2015, creating a $3.2 billion loss in revenue. Yet the population continues to increase and so do the state and local costs such as minimum wage increases, increasing transportation costs, taxes and mandated employee-reporting requirements.
According to Julie Jargon, with The Wall Street Journal:
The average price of a restaurant lunch has risen 19.5% to $7.59 since the recession, as rising labor costs pushed owners to raise menu prices—even as the cost of raw ingredients has fallen.
The average lunch burger check—including fries and a beverage—has risen 22% since the financial crisis to $5.83, with a 4% increase last year alone, according to NPD.
As consumers face rising restaurant prices, they are also contending with higher housing costs, increased gas taxes, additional sales taxes and local and state fees. Just about everything we own, look at, or touch is going up in price.
When prices go up, our dollar has less value and this makes bringing your lunch from home an attractive alternative that is being explored by more and more people.
Because taxpayers’ pocketbooks are being squeezed like an empty ketchup bottle, this once proud American family tradition and working week institution is now being relegated to the status of “high priced dining.”
Jeff Flores currently serves on the Kern High School District Board