Menu prices

Menu prices increased 8.0% during the last 12 months

The Consumer Price Index for Food Away from Home increased 8.0% between August 2021 and August 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That was up from a 7.6% increase in July, and represented the strongest 12-month gain since 1981.

The acceleration in the overall menu-price index was due primarily to a 23.7% increase in the price index for food at employee sites and schools. This component had been significantly dampened for much of the last two years, which BLS attributed to widespread free lunch programs.

Other components of the overall Food Away from Home index remained generally on trend in August. Fullservice restaurant menu prices rose 9.0% between August 2021 and August 2022, while prices for limited-service meals and snacks were up 7.2%.        

Meanwhile, growth in grocery store prices continued to pick up speed in August. Grocery store prices jumped 13.5% between August 2021 and August 2022 – the 14th consecutive month of accelerating growth and largest 12-month increase since 1979.

Overall consumer prices rose 8.3% between August 2021 and August 2022 – the second consecutive month of decelerating growth. However, the core CPI (which excludes food and energy prices) increased 6.3% between August 2021 and August 2022 – up from 5.9% gains in both June and July.

Fullservice and Limited-service Menu Prices

On a regional level, the Midwest (9.3%) and South (8.4%) regions registered the strongest menu-price gains between August 2021 and August 2022. Average menu prices in the West (7.3%) and Northeast (7.1%) regions rose at a slightly lower rates during the last 12 months.

Track more economic indicators and read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.