Going out for food and drinks is going to burn a hole in your pocket in the coming weeks, as hotels, restaurants, pubs, and bars are all set to increase the prices of their items by an average of 5% to 10% in the backdrop of rising prices of ingredients, commodities, and labour. While some have already increased the prices according to their requirements, an across-the-board increase is expected depending on the hike in milk prices.
While tomatoes have been in the news the last few days and can easily be deduced as the reason for this hike, hoteliers said that the prices of every other ingredient, except for sugar and oil, have gone up in recent times.
“No one can do with the old rates anymore. It is not just the tomatoes; all commodities have gone up now. Something as basic as green chillies is also expensive now and it is essential for us to make chutneys. Even the price of onion is slowly rising. The BWSSB has proposed a 25% hike in the drinking water tariff. With all this, we are forced to increase the rates,” said P. C. Rao, president, Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association.
The rates of food items, including coffee and tea are expected to see a raise of ₹5 to ₹10 per item. The hoteliers said that although they did not want to burden the consumers by hiking the prices, it is inevitable in the current economic climate as it would otherwise push them into losses.
At restobars and fine dine restaurants, 7-10% hike on food, 10-12% liquor
In his 14th budget presented on Friday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced an increase in the additional excise duty on Indian-made liquor (IML) by 20% on all slabs and 10% on beer. While this will naturally increase the cost of booze at pubs and bars, restaurateurs might take this opportunity to also increase their food prices, those in the hospitality sector said.
“There has been a steady increase at many places in the last few months due to the prices of all things going up. While the prices of liquor will go up by 10% to 12%, many fine dining restaurants might take this chance to hike up the food prices by 7% to 10%. This may not be across the board as some resto-bars try to keep the price of food reasonable as liquor gets expensive,” said Mukesh Tolani, Head of Bengaluru Chapter, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the co-founder of Toit Brewpub.
Reduced usage of tomatoes in food
The hoteliers said that while they cannot entirely eliminate the usage of tomatoes in the preparation of food, they are looking at temporarily cutting back on the items which are tomato centric. While some have taken them off the menu, others have reduced the quantity of preparation.
“We need tomatoes for Sambar, North Indian food, and Chinese food. But we have stopped making tomato bath, and other rice items that need a lot of tomatoes. Instead, we are serving alternatives like puliyogare, lemon rice, and vangibath, more,” said Mr. Raj.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association has appealed to the hoteliers to reduce the consumption of tomatoes by 60% to control the costs. “To control the rates, we have to avoid some major tomato items. Instead, we can use tomato puree as it can almost replicate the taste,” Mr. Rao said.
However, many hoteliers said that puree cannot be an alternative to fresh tomatoes as the consumers will immediately notice a difference in the flavour and might not turn up at their hotel again.