Inflation makes pricing xmas menus 'tricky'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Very challenging: food inflation making planning and pricing Christmas menus tricky for pubs (Credit: Getty/Ross Woodhall)
Very challenging: food inflation making planning and pricing Christmas menus tricky for pubs (Credit: Getty/Ross Woodhall)

Related tags Finance Food Christmas

Managing soaring food prices is going to be “tricky” for operators this Christmas as festive menus announced months ago no longer reflect current costs.

Bath Pub Company managing director Joe Cussens, explained despite the pubco being “organised” with menu planning and Christmas bookings “doing well”, continuously rising prices have posed “another problem to contend with”.

He said: “It’s relentless. Christmas is going to be tricky this year. [We] priced the menu months ago [based] on an expectation of a price point in the stock cost.

“What's happened since then is stock costs have just steadily gone up. [We] can't now go back and change the prices published back in August or September.

Inflationary pressures 

“[If you] say it's £35 for a three-course meal, then if the price of turkey and smoked salmon goes through the roof, you're stuck having to honour that price.”

This comes as the cost of meat and poultry has continued to increase over the past few months, with food inflation soaring to 12.4%​ in November, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Additionally, earlier this week the National Farmers Union (NFU​) warned the UK’s food supply chain was “under threat” due to rocketing energy costs on top of industry officials having recently stated the latest outbreak of avian flu​ had seen almost half of the UK’s Christmas turkey stock culled.

Licensee of the Dog at Wingham, Canterbury, Marc Bridgen, said these “year-long general inflationary pressures” had resulted in the pub’s Christmas​ menu prices increasing by 40% compared with last year, while its Christmas party menu had risen by 12%.

Though, the operator added these uplifts would not cover the price increases​ the business had been receiving but would “get people through the door” to provide incremental spend on alcohol.

Significantly quieter 

He said: “We have had a few comments about, the price increases, we're still full for Christmas day, it's a very special day at the Dog, but a few of our regular Christmas bookings, particularly ones who take a large table, they did push back on the price.

“We've made the increase as small as possible in the hope we can still get people through the door to enjoy family and corporate Christmas parties and get the drink spend.”

Though Bridgen added, despite being sold out for Christmas day, the pub had seen a “much quieter” December as consumer discretionary spending​ continues to fall amid the cost-of-living crisis​.

He said: “The whole Christmas picture is significantly quieter than we would hope, we've got Christmas bookings​, but I don't think it's going to be anywhere near last December.

“I don't think we're going have a bumper December which is going to make January, February, March very challenging.”

Related topics News

Related news

Show more