Řízek and Smažený sýr Have Risen in Price by a Third. Data Shows Increase in Overall Restaurant Prices

czech food prices

Prices in restaurants are continuously rising. Due to more expensive operations, many restaurants have risen in price by ten to twenty percent in recent months and are preparing to increase further.

According to the data available at Aktuálně.cz, before the coronavirus pandemic, the average spend on a restaurant receipt was 50 crowns lower than it is now. Rising prices are also reflected in restaurant attendance.

“Practically every week, we receive information from suppliers about rising raw material prices by e-mail,” describes Filip Hausknecht from the Bistro Strecha, which employs homeless people or people after serving a sentence.

“Our restaurant has set very low prices from the beginning, and especially margins because one of our goals was to offer plant food at affordable prices. In today’s situation, however, this is unsustainable and we, therefore, plan to raise prices by about eight to ten percent in the coming weeks,” he continues.

Roman Meixner, manager of the Prague restaurant Pivo Karlín, speaks similarly. “Since the beginning of the year, due to various factors, it had to increase by about ten percent. We will probably only feel the outflow of customers caused by inflation and the consequent rise in prices,” he notes.

The average expenditure is growing

The rise in prices has hit all of the Czechia in recent months. Inflation accelerated to 14.2 percent in April and, according to economists, will go even higher. The rise in prices is evident in the prices of food, energy, rent, and fuels.

Specifically, restaurants are increasing the cost of raw materials and normal operations. According to current data from SaltPay, which supplies cash register systems to restaurants, price increases can be observed mainly since the end of May 2021, when companies opened to the public after many months of covid restrictions.

While in June 2021 the average expense on the bill was less than 216 crowns, in January of this year it was more than 260 crowns and in April it was over 270 crowns. “In April, people left about two percent more money per restaurant than in January 2022, but even 31 percent more than last April, when only the takeaway service worked,” adds SaltPay spokeswoman Jana Kohoutová.

According to analysts, Czechs are accepting the ubiquitous increase in prices. “Consumers are still willing to tolerate rising prices even in areas that are not among the basic necessities of life,” says analyst Vít Hradil.

For example, the traditional schnitzel (Řízek) with side dishes rose by almost 29 percent to 186 crowns. The price of fried cheese rose, similarly, to 158 crowns. And, for example, goulash rose by more than a quarter to 162 crowns.

Revenues are higher than before the pandemic

The rise in the price of restaurants is also evident in the increase in their sales, which are growing in most regions when compared to the previous three years. Compared to the first quarter of last year, when only the dispensing window could be open, this is more than 47 percent.

At the same time, Kohoutová points out that even if the company’s sales grow, it does not automatically mean a higher profit. “Their costs are rising – the prices of food, energy, and other supplier services and goods. You need to realize that restaurants provide a service that you have to pay for, and they also have to work out something. If you pay a similar amount for a meal in a restaurant at home, there is something wrong,” says a SaltPay spokesman.

In the first quarter of this year, five percent fewer people visited restaurants than in the same period of 2020 and less than 16 percent in 2019. Specifically, restaurant attendance increased slightly in April but still had a 13 percent decrease compared to the pre-covid April 2019.

“Even Easter did not work as much as many pubs would have liked. They cashed in about a quarter of the guests less than before the pandemic,” adds Kohoutová.

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