Inflation and war in Ukraine: why eating out will cost you more and more

A quarter of restaurateurs in France have already increased their prices with the rise in energy, gas and raw material prices at the start of 2022. A figure which could jump if the situation in Ukraine does not improve quickly. In Occitania, catering professionals are pessimistic.

“With the start of the war in Ukraine, all prices soared,” laments Jacques Mestre, president of the Union of Trades and Hospitality Industries (Umih) in Hérault. 25% of restaurateurs have already increased their prices with the rise in energy and fuel prices, according to a CPME study shared by Umih on April 7. And according to BFMTV, a survey by the specialized application The Fork reports that 68% of restaurateurs are already thinking of modifying their menus.

Skyrocketing delivery costs

“We have only two solutions: change the menus, with cheaper products or increase the prices”, declares the president of Umih 34, owner of a restaurant in La Grande-Motte. A few extra euros are therefore already added to the menus of certain restaurateurs in Occitania. “One of our menus has gone from 35 to 38 euros since the beginning of March” reveals Brice Sannac, owner of the restaurant La Littorine in Banyuls-sur-Mer.

The manager, also president of Umih Pyrénées-Orientales, deplores the price increase for deliveries and the rise in the cost of raw materials. “For the delivery of fruit and vegetables, for examplethe transport rate has gone from 100 to 600 euros. And the price of lobster has gone from 50 to 100 euros” reports Brice Sannac.

Oil and wheat, the black beast

If high-end products suffer, basic necessities such as frying oil and flour are also at the heart of concerns, due to the Ukrainian conflict. As a reminder, Ukraine is the first exporter of oil, the fourth exporter of wheat, and Russia remains the first exporter of wheat in the world.

Like his colleagues, Jacques Mestre, found himself back to the wall. “I had to supply myself with oil and I wanted to wait. I was told: “Jacques, I have 200 liters left at 39 euros, but if you don’t take them right away, they will increase to 100.”“In Montpellier, the pizza maker Zaki Allal explains that the menu of his pizzeria will increase its products by one euro from Tuesday. “The kilo of flour has gone from 60 cents to 1.60 euro”, he justifies.

“They go straight into the wall”

No more doubt possible: for many, the increase in tariffs becomes a necessity. In Hérault, 20 to 30% of restaurateurs have changed their price list. And, according to Brice Sannac, more than 50% of catering professionals in the Pyrénées-Orientales have also increased their prices.

“I encourage them to do it, otherwise they will go straight into the wall”, almost exclaims the director of La Littorine. For him, the market has gone “completely crazy” and there is no longer any hesitation: the increase will continue and we must quickly adapt. For his part, the president of Umih 34 is still hesitating, and is waiting, without really believing it, to see if the situation improves in a few weeks. “But it looks very bad start,” he sighs.

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