A Report Suggests Rising Beef Prices Are Causing Restaurant 'Burgerflation'

hamburger with toppings from restaurant
hamburger with toppings from restaurant - marcin jucha/Shutterstock

Burgers are a mainstay of many restaurant menus, but rising beef costs could cause the average patty to become a lot more expensive than consumers are accustomed to. According to a report courtesy of Toast, a point-of-sale system designed for dining establishments, 2023 has seen an increase in beef prices due to a combination of events. Along with residual effects stemming from the pandemic, droughts have reduced the volume of grazing land for cattle, while feed has become more expensive. Because of these factors, April beef prices rose to $3.93 per pound on average.

Beef costs continued to increase in May when prices totaled $4.15 per pound. Fortunately, the price fluctuations appeared to slow down in June, at which point beef was priced at $3.78 per pound, but there are concerns that the trend could continue through the coming months based on the contributing factors. And it appears that higher beef prices have already affected restaurant burger costs, albeit on a small scale.

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Building A More Expensive Burger

couple eating hamburger in restaurant
couple eating hamburger in restaurant - Lordhenrivoton/Getty Images

To establish whether restaurant burger costs actually increased alongside the rising meat prices, Toast evaluated invoices from a collection of restaurants. After determining average monthly burger costs from November 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, the analysis found a slight increase in burger prices between March and June.

The good news is that the increase in burger prices was less than 1% during that period. Most establishments are hesitant to raise prices significantly, even when faced with fluctuating beef prices, as they risk turning off customers and losing them indefinitely. Instead, most restaurants opt to absorb the cost increases in the hopes that beef prices will fall once again and they'll quickly recoup revenue.

However, this strategy may not be tenable in the long run, as dining establishments will need to adjust menu prices if beef costs continue to rise throughout the rest of the year. Additionally, the fact that the increase occurred over such a brief timeframe could mean more trouble ahead. As for now, it seems that consumers can still enjoy burgers at their favorite eateries without concerns about facing an exorbitant bill.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.