New Study Shows Majority Of Diners Are Okay With Increased Menu Prices

Food inflation seems like it will be sticking around for a little longer, meaning that consumers on a budget will have to be careful when planning their trips to the grocery store.

Some studies have shown that these higher prices have already affected the way that many consumers prefer to do their shopping. CNN reports that the increased costs of this past year were due to a variety of factors, including labor shortages and supply chain problems. To counter this, the Wall Street Journal states that more shoppers are changing which brands they typically purchase and are showing a decrease in brand loyalty due to limited supplies. Our survey found that 40% of consumers were willing to switch to store-brand items to cut back on expenses in the grocery aisle.

Will these changes extend to restaurant dining as well? Statista's data shows that Americans' average annual spending on food away from home pre-pandemic was about $3,500 in 2019. During the pandemic, that number dropped down to only $2,300 in 2020; the lowest it's been in the past decade. On average, spending on eating out returned fairly strong in 2021 at $3,030. It seems that Americans were quick to return to bars and restaurants and may seem unfazed by lingering price raises this year as well, according to a new study.

Diners are undeterred by menu changes

A recent study by Popmenu shows that diners are reporting that they aren't letting higher menu prices keep them from going out to eat. In fact, 68% said that they were okay with restaurants choosing to raise their prices. Popmenu explains that this is due to consumers' understanding of the difficult times that restaurants are facing and that they are willing to pay a little extra to support businesses they enjoy. Of those surveyed, 51% said they also understood smaller portion sizes, and 45% are okay with restaurants adding a temporary inflation fee. This mentality seems to be keeping restaurants busy, even while prices rise. NPR reports that rising rents, employee costs, and food costs have forced restaurants to change their operations significantly. Some of these items have seen raises as high as 15-17% compared to a year earlier.

The survey also showed that more consumers are actually using restaurant deals to save money on groceries. Popmenu reported that one in four people choose to eat out at fast food restaurants to "manage food expenses."

It seems that consumers are understanding of these short-term menu changes as the restaurant industry struggles back from the COVID-19 pandemic and further through inflation.