Posts Tagged ‘high prices’

Restaurateurs Feel the Crush of High Prices

June 16, 2011

No restaurateur has been immune to the recent price increases in raw food costs. However, the fact that prices have gone up so much in such a short time has put a huge crimp in our industry. With some Americans still reluctant to eat out because they are worried about their finances, restaurateurs are finding themselves stuck between a rock and hard place – in essence, they are finding that they are unable to raise prices even though their raw material costs are going up exponentially. In order to combat the problem, some restaurateurs have resorted to creative and not so creative ways to stem the tide of red ink.

Among the more creative options, some restaurateurs have begun simply serving slightly smaller portions of food. This is probably the easiest way to keep prices the same in the face of rising food costs – if you usually served four slices of bacon with the bacon and eggs special, cutting down to three slices instead is an easy fix. Unfortunately, that only gets one so far—you can’t cut down from two to one slice without affecting the customers’ experience.

Others are trying to substitute cheaper ingredients (for example, cheap white bread in place of the more expensive house breads), especially for things like toast where it’s less noticeable to the diners. Others have simply dropped the most expensive items from their menus as unprofitable in light of the extreme rise in the cost of raw food products and still others have been forced to lay off staff and require waiters and dishwashers to do more work for the same money just in order to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight as the turmoil in the Middle East continues to consume the world’s economy with increasingly high prices for crude oil. This in turn, more than anything else has been pushing up prices and causing all the pain for restaurateurs and ordinary Americans trying to put food on the table.

Fish Prices Expected to Skyrocket in Coming Years

November 3, 2010

The world is being severely overfished. That’s the conclusion so far from an ongoing study being conducted at the University of British Columbia. According to the study, the world catch, or the amount of fish taken out of the sea “in the wild”, is approximately 170 billion pounds each year.

The study’s authors claim that this amount of fishing is unsustainable. They claim that world fish prices could spike severely in the near future as fish becomes more and more of a luxury for Western consumers while those in developing nations may have to do without altogether.

The Type of Fish is the Biggest Problem

One of the issues the study brings up, and one which we are particularly concerned about, is that the raw tonnage of fish taken out of the sea is not nearly as important as the type of fish consumed.

The authors of the study, Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist as the university, and Enric Sala, a National Geographic fellow say that the bigger the fish, the more of a problem it is to consume it.

Tuna for example, which restaurateurs have already seen spike in prices in recent years, is a fish which they say needs to be kept to a minimum. A thousand pound tuna for example, according them, would require around 15,000 pounds of other fish to be bred and made ready for our plates.

That’s because tuna is what is known as an “Apex predator.” These kinds of fish rest on top of the food chain and eat many other, smaller fish.

A Change in Menus is Called For

The scientists say that given the concerns they have regarding the sea, they would like to see people begin eating other, smaller fish such as farmed tilapia in place of salmon and black cod in place of Chilean sea bass.

How it Affects Restaurateurs

As the efforts of the study authors become more and more apparent, restaurateurs will have to make decisions about their menus. Some for example may choose to offer both the bigger fish for those who aren’t concerned and only want to enjoy tuna or salmon while at the same making more environmentally friendly choices available for their diners who want other kinds of fish.