Plaza Blog

The Impact of Inflation on Restaurant Menu Prices in 2022

The beginning of 2022 has been difficult for restaurants: supply chain issues, rising costs of ingredients, worker shortages, and more. Many restaurants have responded by raising prices either for specific menu items or across the board.

Using Plaza’s internal menu data, we analyzed 121 restaurants in the Los Angeles area, looking how prices changed for these restaurants between October and November 2021 to April 2022.

Not every single restaurant increased prices during this period. Seventeen restaurants from the sample (or 14%) had an overall decrease in average cost. Twenty-seven had a change of less than 1% in either direction (22% of the sample). The remaining seventy-seven restaurants (63%) had a change of more than 1%.

Distribution of inflation by restaurant

We analyzed over 5,000 different food items from these restaurants menus. Only one restaurant from the sample increased the price of every single item, and only four restaurants increased the price of more than three-quarters of their items.

The average change across all items was an increase of 4.4%. However, the majority of food items stayed the same:

Distribution of Food Inflation Costs by Different Menu Items

The change in cost was not uniformly distributed across food items. Protein-packed items had the largest increases with taco prices up 12% followed by burgers (9%) and then fish (8%). Carbohydrate heavy dishes like pasta, pizza, and dessert saw the smallest increases.

Chart depicting the average price change for various food menu items

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