Lunch Costs are Eating Into Czech Wallets – and Fewer People are Eating Out

According to an analysis by Sodexo Benefity, lunch in a restaurant in September cost CZK 172 on average, CZK 5 more than in August and CZK 15 more than in January.

People spent the most money on a lunch meal in a restaurant in Prague, at CZK 195. On the other hand, the cheapest price, on average CZK 153, was paid in establishments in the Olomouc region.

“Given that the annual inflation rate reached 18 percent in September, and experts expect it to fall below the 10 percent mark by the middle of next year at the earliest, it is certain that people in Prague will pay an average of CZK 200 for lunch later this year. And with a high degree of probability, Central Bohemians will join them,” said Jan Michelfeit of Sodexo Benefity.

At the beginning of this year, the average lunch cost CZK 157. The cheapest in September was in the Olomouc Region (CZK 152.6) and the Vysočina Region (CZK 154), the analysis showed.

“Lunch prices have been rising continuously for the twelfth month in a row. They headed upwards in autumn last year, shortly after all covid restrictions were relaxed,” Michelfeit pointed out.

The price is rising by one or two crowns every month. “But September brought a much bigger jump, by more than five crowns,” he noted.

Complications? Expensive meat and working from home He believes this is probably related to the fact that restaurant operators have dared to reflect their rising costs more strongly in their final prices after the holidays.

There was nothing else to do, Michelfeit said, because the rise in operating costs due to inflation was as crushing for restaurant owners as the price increases for everyone else.

In addition, the rise in the price of meat, which rose more than 20 percent year-on-year in August and September, is a major contributor to inflation, he added.

Representatives of restaurateurs have previously pointed out that people have gotten out of the habit of going to restaurants for lunch during the pandemic, when they often worked from home, and also because of the current cost-of-living increases, they now often bring their own food to the office.

Majority of Czechs now economizing on eating out, new clothes and transport

Around 88 percent of Czechs are feeling the bite of inflation and the energy crisis, according to a poll conducted by the STEM/MARK agency.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they had started economizing mainly by not eating out so often, not shopping for new clothes, cutting back on transport costs and limiting car journeys.

A third of respondents said they had registered the cost increase, but have not yet started economizing.

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