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Restaurant Ups Prices Due To Gasoline

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?