The Four Things Restaurants Can Do to Cope With Inflation This Summer

With the rise of gas prices around the country, it’s not unsurprising to see the price at the pump and inflation starting to affect other industries, including the restaurant industry.

Often one of the first cuts made to household budgets during periods of high inflation, the restaurant business could see gas prices affect consumer spending, with every 50-cent increase at the pump having a near 68 billion dollar impact on the consumer spending market.

According to Alignable, 86% of consumers say gas price is starting to affect their spending habits. Restaurant owners are feeling the effects too, with nearly 66% of restaurant owners saying they are struggling with rising gas prices.

Gas prices, combined with 90% of Americans feeling concerned about food prices does not appear to bode well for the restaurant industry. However, it is summer and summer usually means travel.

“…We’re heading into the summer season where there’s a pent-up demand, people want to go out…they’re going to look to restaurants,” said Barbara Castiglia of Modern Restaurant Management.

To help accommodate to this current inflationary stress, Castiglia noted the importance of paying attention to travel habits. While Americans might still be taking their summer road trips despite the cost of gas, they may be staying closer to home than originally planned. 

To capitalize on this, restaurants should partner with local municipalities and engage with events, museums, and zoos, or other facilities. Not only will this engagement help market the restaurant but it can also provide community collaboration, drawing in more local, long-term customers.

In a battle with inflation, restaurants are also starting to add service fees. According to

Lightspeed, the number of restaurants adding service feeds increased 36.4% from April 2021 to April 2022. Leading the way, Romano’s Macaroni Grill added a $2 fee temporarily due to “macroeconomic pressures” with several other restaurants following suit.

Additionally, Castiglia noted that “People are changing their eating and shopping habits.” Some consumers are turning toward more plant-based options as alternatives to meat or dairy products. Restaurants could take advantage of this market and post recipes or host cooking classes with plant-based ingredients.

In QSR, help guests avoid idling by decreasing wait time and market with empathy, “To offer guests more options and more convenience and cut down on that wait time and that drive time,” said Castiglia, “So, it’s going to be an interesting summer, people are going to be going out and they want to go to restaurants, they want to go to local restaurants and it’ll be interesting to see how restauranteurs respond and get creative this summer.”

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