January 18, 2016 4:34 pm
Updated: January 18, 2016 6:44 pm

‘It’s killing me’: Rising cost of food hitting restaurants, impacting menu prices

WATCH ABOVE: You can likely expect to pay more when eating out at some of your favourite restaurants in the near future. That's because the rising cost of food is also affecting the restaurant industry and may soon lead to changes on the menu. Global's Natasha Pace reports.


Foodies can expect to shell out more money when eating at restaurants in the near future, thanks to the skyrocketing cost of food.

Six in 10 restaurant operators plan to raise their menu prices over the next six months, according to the fourth quarter results of the 2015 Restaurant Outlook Survey.

The survey hasn’t been released yet, but Global Halifax has learned that the rising cost of food is now the number one issue impacting the food service industry.

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“It’s killing me,” said Bill Pratt, owner of restaurants Habaneros, Cheese Curds and Truck-Side.

“I cannot continue to jack the prices up for the customers because then you scare them away.”

According to vice president of Restaurants Canada, Luc Erjavec, the weakening Canadian dollar is driving the food costs up. He adds that the impacts of the rising food costs really depends on who restaurants cater to.

“If you’re someone whose using a lot of root vegetables, local potatoes, there’s probably not as much pressure as if your someone whose importing peppers or fresh fruits,” Erjavec said.

Many food service operators say the rising cost for beef and chicken is putting a strain on them, but the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is also putting a lot of pressure on small business owners.

“We’ve seen inflation in the range of about 10 per cent for beef, dairy, fruit, vegetables and with the dollar continuing to go down, we’re going to see more and more pressure on food costs,” said Erjavec.


A worker at Habaneros in Dartmouth serves up tacos to a customer.

Natasha Pace/Global News

Being a business that relies on almost entirely fresh food and produce, Pratt says he’s really feeling the burn of rising costs.

“It’s dramatic, simply because the price of tomatoes in the summer is $20, and now I’m paying $70,” said Pratt.

“What makes it difficult for us is that we’re not using all the processed products and that we’re making this stuff from scratch and the scratch products, the raw product, costs are going so high, it’s making it difficult to do that.”

If the cost of food continues to go up, Pratt says he will have no choice but to look at adjusting his menus.

“We’re going to have to raise the prices to keep up to that. We cannot stay in business you know, if we’re losing money on that.”

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