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Old 06-23-2008, 11:00 AM   #1
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Foodservice/Restaurant employees

More than likely, you're as fed up with the rising cost of everything used in production as I am. If it's not the actual item that's been raised, the delivery surcharges are bordering on the ridiculous. Every vendor, every supplier has raised their prices. Have any of you passed those increases onto your customers yet?

I hang out in the dining room during service so I'm available to the customers. Some have concerns regarding the prices, some are downright disagreeable about it. We just began an initial increase. A year ago, this unit ran at a 45% food cost, serving about 800 meals at lunch. This year, we're down to about 500 meals per lunch (everyone knows what shape the Exchange is in, just read the papers). Everything has increased between 7and 20 % during this time. I'm running an average of 45.6% food cost. No small feat, to be sure. Unfortunately, we do have to start passing some of the increases on.

This cafe is like a gigantic buffet. Some items are offered 'self serve' and are charged, usually, by weight. Some items are served by a staff member. Previously, we'd offered dinner rolls as a complimentary accompanyment to the soup. At the time, the roll cost me 15cents. It's currently up to 55cents for the roll. We charge for an additional roll, 50cents. At this rate, anyone can see that it costs more to have the roll in the house, yes? We were faced with either increasing the price of the soup, or charging for the roll, no longer complimentary. We decided to charge 65cents for the roll. I'm hiding in my office...I don't want to hear the ensuing whining. Our ciabatta bread, black russian pocket and health breads cost 82cents apiece. I have to increase the price of a sandwich by a dollar for the customers who desire those breads.
Currently, I sell an egg for 50cents. Once I finish costing that item out, I imagine I'll have to increase that price too.

It's rough once you decide to push the increases. I get that everyone is feeling the pinch, but.....doesn't it make sense that if you see food costs rising at the supermarket, it only stands to reason that restaurants/dining facilities are seeing those same increases?

Ultimately, our choices are either reduce portion size, eliminate certain items from the menu, or raise prices.

Anyone else in the same quagmire?

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Old 06-23-2008, 11:05 AM   #2
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As a consumer, I would and will completely understand when restaurants start raising their prices. I am surprised I have not seen more of it already to tell the truth.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:06 AM   #3
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Making bagels revolves around flour. I'm not sure we have raised prices yet, but I'm sure will be soon. The owner is getting close to putting a GPS on each bagel to track waste. I don't know what the percentages are, I'm just the weekend baker and it's none of my concern.... according to her. (I need a new job. How can I give a rip about waste when I'm not allowed to?)

We had a customer get straight up angry about the price of her sandwich a few weeks ago..... I'd like to see her back again once we do raise prices. There is a graph on the front counter to show people our costs.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:57 AM   #4
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Suz, it's admirable that you are concerned about the business when you probably don't get compensated enough to really care. Too bad your boss doesn't get that.
Customers get angry because they feel they're getting ripped off enough. Start screwing with something that rarely changes and you're apt to ruin someone's day. Unfortunately, they always project that anger onto the people who have the least to say about it.

Tell your boss I prefer a Lo-Jack to GPS
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:01 PM   #5
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We haven't raised prices yet, but the whole restaurant industry is hurting in general, especially the more upscale establishments since people are really watching their budget.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:12 PM   #6
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I eat out regularly and quite a few of the restaurants in my area have raised prices, downsized items and/or revised their menus recently. I was surprised it took so long.

One place used to charge a straight $6 or $7 for a sandwich - they just added 95 cents, so the menu doesn't look like it changed that much. Another place used to have a packed 3-page menu - now it's a much simplified front and back. Our favorites are still there, though I can certainly understand restaurants' need to adjust somehow to the rising prices, but I suppose they also have to keep in mind that people are very sensitive to price changes for eating out. It's a tough balancing act.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:24 PM   #7
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Vera - I ride the tran in the morning with two chefs who are seeing the same things that you are with similar choices to make.

From my standpoint, I identify completely with your statement about people venting on the people that hae nothing to do with the problem. I am in a different business, but, I see exactly the same thing. Over and over.

While probably not a factor in your situation (VeraBlue's) is ther any information about whether gas and food prices are keeping more people out of restaurant? I was hoping for an approximate percentage, I cannot believe tht it is not happening.

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Old 06-23-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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I will continue to eat at restaurants that raise their prices...IF they maintain quality.
If they try to lower their food cost by buying less expensive product to maintain/increase their margin...I want be back!
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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To be honest, I don't understand how anyone who buys their own groceries would think that restaurants WOULDN'T be raising prices. I just assume that whatever increase I'm seeing at my local grocery store is going to be roughly the increase I'll see at my favourite restaurant.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:56 PM   #10
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I have certainly felt the crunch, specifically flour and produce.

And then there are the food costs % to keep in line...whata pita...and then, PEOPLE COMPLAIN! I mean seriously, have they been out in the real world? I know for a fact that on some of the breakfast items, we are just making cost, and that is no way to turn a profit.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JillyBean View Post
To be honest, I don't understand how anyone who buys their own groceries would think that restaurants WOULDN'T be raising prices. I just assume that whatever increase I'm seeing at my local grocery store is going to be roughly the increase I'll see at my favourite restaurant.
seems obvious to me, too, but then again, there are a whole host of folks out there who don't make any sense at all..... much less good sense.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:06 PM   #12
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I live in a tourist town, so dining out is always expensive, and I very seldom eat fast food. Even so, it's often cheaper for my husband and myself to eat out than to eat at home (depending on the menu). Buying good, unprocessed foods, local produce, sustainable fish, and organic beef and chicken, is costly. I shop mostly at Whole Foods and New Leaf Community Markets (mostly in Santa Cruz, CA, area, but newly opened in Half Moon Bay), and I get sticker shock on a regular basis. I remember when $100 would by lots of food for lots of meals. Pffffft.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JillyBean View Post
To be honest, I don't understand how anyone who buys their own groceries would think that restaurants WOULDN'T be raising prices. I just assume that whatever increase I'm seeing at my local grocery store is going to be roughly the increase I'll see at my favourite restaurant.
Ah.... but then you have the people like some of the folks I work with... You know, the ones who haven't *seen* a price at any grocery store in at least 6-8 months because that would entail actually shopping for groceries instead of eating out!
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Adillo303 View Post
Vera - I ride the tran in the morning with two chefs who are seeing the same things that you are with similar choices to make.

From my standpoint, I identify completely with your statement about people venting on the people that hae nothing to do with the problem. I am in a different business, but, I see exactly the same thing. Over and over.

While probably not a factor in your situation (VeraBlue's) is ther any information about whether gas and food prices are keeping more people out of restaurant? I was hoping for an approximate percentage, I cannot believe tht it is not happening.

AC
Take the jersey shore for instance. Last year the beach would have been packed on an 85 degree day, water @65 degrees. Yesterday, clearly, there was a 25% drop in 'packedness'. I assume it's because of the price of gas. It's the college student age people who are conspicuously absent.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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To be honest, I don't understand how anyone who buys their own groceries would think that restaurants WOULDN'T be raising prices. I just assume that whatever increase I'm seeing at my local grocery store is going to be roughly the increase I'll see at my favourite restaurant.
Sure sounds reasonable...but when the customers actually see and feel the increase, somehow, all reasonableness flies right out the window.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #16
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We haven't raised prices yet, but the whole restaurant industry is hurting in general, especially the more upscale establishments since people are really watching their budget.
I'd disagree with that statement. A more upscale restaurant would attract a more financially sound clientelle. It's the places that families go to, college students, working people...those are the ones that will hurt more. Those middle income people have substantially less disposable income than someone who'd frequent a more upscale restaurant.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:52 PM   #17
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Ah.... but then you have the people like some of the folks I work with... You know, the ones who haven't *seen* a price at any grocery store in at least 6-8 months because that would entail actually shopping for groceries instead of eating out!

Touché

Ever try to explain to one of those people why you had to raise a price?
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:06 PM   #18
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seems obvious to me, too, but then again, there are a whole host of folks out there who don't make any sense at all..... much less good sense.

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:31 PM   #19
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Ah.... but then you have the people like some of the folks I work with... You know, the ones who haven't *seen* a price at any grocery store in at least 6-8 months because that would entail actually shopping for groceries instead of eating out!

THANK YOU!!!!!

You stole my point!

They dont shop for food so instead of grumbling at the grocers shelves and cashier they are grumbling at the main provider of their food, you the food establishment personnel.


Vera, if your clientèle are from the Stock Exchange and they haven't connected what goes on where they work with what happens in the real world .... THAT is truly SCARY.!.!! How do you keep from grabbing them by the throat and pointing out how their the people who helped create the situation?
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:46 PM   #20
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I'd disagree with that statement. A more upscale restaurant would attract a more financially sound clientelle.

Upscale is relevant.

Spam eating capital is Hawaii? Lots of money in Hawaii but no where near as much as in The City so 'upscale' may have a slightly different meaning.

I mean, I live in CowTown Ohio. The local Upscale is getting by on the Wet T-Shirt Night(s) beer sales.


Quote:
Those middle income people have substantially less disposable income than someone who'd frequent a more upscale restaurant.
I imagine The City has establishments with clientèle who rarely if ever loose money.
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