Rising restaurant prices prompt customers to dial back dining out

  • Labor Department: Restaurant prices are up 30% since 2019
  • Report: Food service sales to hit a record $1.1 trillion
  • Restaurant owner: "(It's) never been this hard to make money"

Fast food drive-thru (Getty)

(NewsNation) — Restaurant prices have been slowly rising as a result of inflation and increased food costs, which restaurant owners say is a recipe for disaster.

In January, the Labor Department reported the price of eating out skyrocketed 30% compared to January 2019, a year before the pandemic.

Private restaurant owners say one of the main problems they’re facing is that customers aren’t willing to spend more money for the same product.

“Fifty-six years, (it’s) never been this hard to make any money,” said Albert Scalleat, the owner of Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria & Bar in Las Vegas.

“I mean with the way prices are right now, you have to have it, and we have so much competition with other restaurants and everybody’s trying to get the same amount of guests in here. Every little deal, every little dollar saved, helps,” Dreamland Bar-B-Que general manager Richard Uzzle added.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for restaurants.

The food service industry is forecast to hit a record $1.1 trillion this year, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Service industry experts say it’s the chain restaurants like Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and McDonald’s that are winning, while local sit-down joints struggle.

It’s forcing restaurant owners to think outside of the box and to get creative.

The National Restaurant Association reported that 60% of restaurants plan to make tech investments to enhance the customer experience and cut costs.

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