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Restaurant Ups Prices Due To Gasoline

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My girlfriend and I went to a local Chinese restaurant last night to celebrate her finding a job and found a little sticker on the menus. Apparently, they were going to add $1 onto each entree (temporarily) because of the recent increase in fuel costs. We have no idea how long this practice has been going on since we haven’t been to the restaurant in about two months. I found this increase a little unjustified because I honestly couldn’t see how the increase in gasoline could possibly amount to $1 per entree – was this an example of price gouging?

The entrees at the place usually run between $9 and $12, so a $1 increase is about a 10% premium over existing prices! I realize that gasoline has skyrocketed (though cooling down in recent weeks) but so much goes into the costs of preparing food – raw materials, labor, restaurant upkeep, etc; that it didn’t make any sense. If anything, I could agree to a 50 cent increase but a whole dollar smelled fishy.

To thicken the plot a little, it appears that the restaurant is also overhauling all of its concrete sidewalks. So is the $1 subsidy because of gas or because of the renovations? Add that to other little cost-cutting measures, we saw and it appears that gasoline may not be the culprit for the increase. We ordered Mushu Pork, which comes with some sort of hoisin sauce, and that sauce was thinner (I think it’s better this way because before it was too thick) which made us believe either they went with a cheaper brand or they watered it down.

Regardless, have you experienced the pinch at the pump in other places? Places that didn’t seem like the price increase, even if only temporarily, was justified?

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Restaurant Ups Prices Due To Gasoline”

  1. Weird. Why not just increase their prices by $1/item rather than playing games like this? I guess that would require new menus, though. It’s also weird that they applied a flat increase to things that cost varying amounts. Why an 11% increase on a $9 item and an 8% increase on a $12 item. Doesn’t the price of gas affect them both similarly?

  2. jim says:

    Probably for simplicity… the $1 increase across the board bothered me far less than the watering down/changing brands of the sauce because the increase was explicit and reasoned (even if I didn’t agree with it).

  3. Brian says:

    Seems like a convenient way to pass the blame to someone else.

  4. Matt says:

    Some places I order from have increased their delivery charge (which makes some sense, although there’s no way that the cost of driving from the restaurant to my house and back has gone up _that_ much), but I haven’t seen anyone increase _menu_ prices (ie the price for carry-out or dine-in food).

  5. Amy says:

    A couple of weeks ago, I went out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant I’d been wanting to try (plus I had a coupon). When I got the bill, I saw that they had charged $1 for chips/salsa, which is normally free in Mexican places in our area. Then, I saw that the ice tea was $1.75! I’m kind of muttering in displeasure about this to my fiance, and we go up to the register to pay. The owner is running the cash register and we get to talking…he tells us that he had to charge for the chips/salsa, raising prices, because the people supplying him are raising prices….anyway, I came away from that dinner with some understanding of small business owners and the prices they pay and then charge us, their ultimate customer. Waling out of the restaurant, I wasn’t nearly as …miffed, I guess is the best word, as I was walking up to the cash register! Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  6. ima says:

    I have a takeout and delivery only restaurant so maybe I can add something to the conversation. My carryout menus cost me about 2k to print. Last printed in 2009, so no price increases on the menu since then. But, since then the cost of flour has increased by 113%, yes one hundred and thirteen percent. Pork and beef products have increased 28%. Paper products have increased approx 10%. Then there are increases in rent, electricity, gas, repairs, etc. Refuse collectors regularly increase their prices due to increased fuel costs to them. Suppliers tack on “temporary” fuel costs for delivery of their products, although the product costs keep going up too. Repair people charge a base trip cost plus a fuel charge, then tack on “waste recovery” fees for refrigerants, parts that contain elements that may be hazardous to the environment and disposal fees. Look at how your food costs have increased at the grocery store. And of course, the federal government gave all employees three raises over 2 years so that all the non-tipped employees have a minimum base wage that is 41% higher than it was 3 years ago. And we still have people that will tip a delivery drive nothing or a dollar when they are driving 10 miles round trip to deliver their food.
    As always, there are two sides to the matter. Maybe claiming a gas price increase was easier than putting all the facts on the table.

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