Thursday, June 05, 2008

How Restaurateurs Cope With Soaring Food Prices

Less than six months ago the price of rice was $9.99 for a 20 lb bag.
Tday it is flirting at almost $30.00 for the same 20 lb bag! For the
residential domestic consumer it is one thing, what do restaurateurs
who have to maintain the quality of their menu, manage with the
soaring cost of ingredients, I kept wondering.

This question was answered by a New York Times article which says,
"All across New York City, cooks, chefs and restaurateurs are
struggling to cope with soaring costs of many of their basic
ingredients, including flour, eggs, rice and cooking oil. "Everything
is going up at once" is a universal complaint among them, so they are
devising all sorts of strategies to avoid having to pass the brunt of
the price increases on to their customers. Some are cutting back on
waiters and kitchen help, others are staying open longer or expanding
their offerings to increase sales. One sheepishly admitted that she
had started adding the sales tax to customer's bills rather than raise
the prices printed on her elaborate, laminated menus."

"Suvir Saran, the owner and a co-executive chef of Devi, an Indian
restaurant in the Flatiron district, said he was weighing whether to
pare down portions, because he did not think he could raise prices.
Devi already charged $65 for its "chef's tasting menu" before the cost
of rice and chapati flour doubled over the past few months. A 30-pound
sack of rice has risen steadily this year to $43 from $22, while a
15-pound bag of flour has gone to $22 from $8 and a 4.6-gallon
container of canola oil is up to $34, from $18 or less at the start of
the year, Mr. Saran said.
"Rice is such an important part of our business," he said. "We've been
getting battered by these huge price increases." Mr. Saran said that
he earned little profit on a dinner of tandoor-grilled lamb chops
priced at $30, but that in the past he had been able to make up for
that by selling rice dishes. No longer. "This year we're not making as
much money selling rice," he said," to the New York Times.

Read the full article at--

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