The Price of Dining Out — and Dining In — Jumped More This Year Than It Has Since 1982
Inflation has been a common topic as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has made all sorts of things more expensive from snacks to slices of pizza. But in case you wanted additional confirmation, on Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly Consumer Price Index Summary — and, yes, the increase in prices has been historically bad, especially for food.
Overall, the "all items" index — which takes into account pricing across all categories — rose 6.8 percent for the 12 months ending November, the largest 12-month increase since June 1982, 39 years ago. Honing in specifically on food, the cost of dining out actually fared slightly worse, historically speaking: The index for "food away from home" (essentially eating out at restaurants) was up 5.8 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month increase since January 1982.
Meanwhile, though the price jump for eating at home wasn't quite as bad in a historical sense, the percentage increase in the price of eating at home was higher than for eating out: The food at home index was up 6.4 percent over the past 12 months, the worst 12-month increase since December 2008. And once again, meat was leading the pack.
"All of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period," the government wrote. "The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 12.8 percent, with the index for beef rising 20.9 percent. The index for dairy and related products posted the smallest increase, rising 1.6 percent over the last 12 months. The remaining major grocery store food group indexes posted increases ranging from 4.0 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 5.7 percent (other food at home)."
Still, President Biden remained optimistic in the face of these numbers. "Developments in the weeks after these data were collected last month show that price and cost increases are slowing, although not as quickly as we'd like," The White House said in a statement. "Even with this progress, price increases continue to squeeze family budgets. We are making progress on pandemic related challenges to our supply chain which make it more expensive to get goods on shelves, and I expect more progress on that in the weeks ahead…. [W]e have to get prices and costs down before consumers will feel confident in [the] recovery."
However, despite increases in prices, CNN Business pointed to signs that some well-tread chain restaurants aren't suffering: Specifically, both Chipotle and McDonald's have said that their prices have increased this year, but the former has seen sales grow while the latter suggested that higher pricing "has been pretty well received by customers."