Menu prices

Menu prices increased 7.2% during the last 12 months

Growth in menu prices continued to accelerate in April, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average menu prices increased 7.2% between April 2021 and April 2022, which represented the largest 12-month gain since 1981. 

Although menu-price growth reached a multi-decade high in recent months, it remained well below the sharp increase in grocery store prices. Grocery store prices jumped 10.8% between April 2021 and April 2022 – the strongest 12-month increase since 1980. 

Overall inflation remained elevated in April, but the growth rate decelerated for the first time in 8 months. Overall consumer prices were up 8.3% between April 2021 and April 2022, after rising 8.5% in the 12 months ending March 2022.     

The recent rise in menu prices was due largely to higher input costs – particularly food and labor. The Producer Price Index for All Food jumped 17.8% between April 2021 and April 2022, while the average hourly earnings of eating and drinking place employees were up 11.9% from year-ago levels.

Fullservice restaurant menu prices increased 8.7% between April 2021 and April 2022, while prices for limited-service meals and snacks were up 7.0%. Growth in fullservice prices continued to accelerate in April, while the 12-month growth in limited-service prices was down from its recent high of 8.0%.

Fullservice and Limited-service Menu Prices

On a regional level, the Midwest (9.3%) and South (7.5%) regions registered the strongest menu-price gains between April 2021 and April 2022. Average menu prices in the West (6.3%) and Northeast (5.8%) regions rose at slower rates during the last 12 months.

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