Menu inflation at branded restaurants is “outpacing the rest of the market”


Main courses on branded restaurant menus have increased in price by 10.1% since February. That’s according to data from Lumina Intelligence’s Menu Tracker.

The average main course on a branded restaurant menu cost £12.69 in June 2022, compared to £11.53 in February 2022. The average price of any dish on leading branded restaurant menus was £9.02 in June 2022, up 7.4% from £8.40 in February 2022.

Inflation is being driven by main courses and desserts, with desserts increasing 5.4%, from £5.35 to £5.64.

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Starters and side dishes have remained stable during this period, with the average starter costing £6.52 and the average side dish £3.46. Starters and side dishes are key tools for increasing consumer spend, so operators will be keen to keep costs down to tempt consumers.

When analysing other channels, branded restaurant menu inflation is at least double. Between February and June 2022, the average price of a dish on a pub and bar menu increased 2.3%, on a QSR menu increased 3.6% on a coffee and sandwich shop menu increased 2.3%.

In contrast to branded restaurants, it is side dishes that are driving price inflation across the rest of the market. The average branded restaurant menu in June 2022 included 64 different dishes, up 3.2% from 62 dishes in February.

When broken down, the average number of starters on a branded menu declined 16.7%, main courses and side dishes remained stable and the average number of desserts increased 11.1%.

During the peak of the pandemic, operators really stripped back menus to manage costs and adhere more easily to coronavirus restrictions. With restrictions eased, operators are slowly increasing menu sizes, however it is likely to be a slow process, as the industry continues to face staff shortages and the cost of living crisis.

In June 2022, the 20 biggest branded restaurant operators in the UK introduced a combined 137 new dishes to menus, equating to 10.7% of the total menu. In comparison, in February only 71 new items were added to menus, equating to 5.7% of the total menu.

Versus February 2022, the volume of new starters introduced to branded restaurant operator menus in June 2022 increased 73.3%, main courses 72.7%, sides 150.0% and desserts 185.7%.

Zizzi is the brand with the highest proportion of its menu tagged as new in June 2022, with 44%. This is followed by TGI Friday’s (19%), Franco Manca (19%) and ASK Italian (18%).

Commenting on the findings, senior insight manager at Lumina Intelligence, Katie Prowse, said: “Like the general public, operators are experiencing rapidly increasing costs, whether that be produce, energy costs or staffing. 

“Whilst menu inflation at branded restaurants is outpacing the rest of the market, this is likely to even out over the coming months, as more operators are forced to increase costs at a steeper rate to maintain margins. Despite reaching a 40-year high, inflation is not expected to slow, so operators are doing to have to work hard to drive footfall and increase consumer spend.”

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Maria Bracken

The author Maria Bracken

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