Tamil Nadu

Eating out gets expensive as prices, wages go up

Hotels and restaurants in Chennai have increased the prices by 8% to 10% on an average in the last few weeks.

Hotels and restaurants in Chennai have increased the prices by 8% to 10% on an average in the last few weeks. | Photo Credit: RAVINDRAN R

Until four months ago, K. Manikandan, who works in a private bank in Vadapalani, spent around ₹500 a day on food. But, he shells out around ₹580-₹600 a day now. “Most of the restaurants in this area have increased prices owing to the rising inflation. For bachelors like me, who stay in mansions/hostels, there is no option but to eat out,” he said.

“Buying food trough Swiggy, Zomato and other aggregators has become more expensive. The same food is available at a lower price if I walk up to the hotel,” he said.

Like Manikandan, several bachelors, even those in the low income bracket and the middle classes have been spending more on eating out these days. The reason is that hotels and restaurants have, on an average, increased the prices by 8-10%. Even the roadside mobile eateries have hiked prices.

Restaurant owners from across the city told The Hindu that they have increased prices as fruits, vegetables, oil, rent and wages have all gone up. They had not increased prices for almost two years due to the pandemic. For example, the price of biriyani has gone up to ₹320-₹340 a plate from ₹250-₹280 about 40 days ago. Even at a roadside eatery, biryani is sold for ₹150 a plate as against ₹100-₹120 a few days ago.

M. Ravi, president of the Chennai Hotels’ Association and chairman of Vasanta Bhavan hotels, said: “Some hotels have increased prices by 5-8% from April. Transport cost has gone up, prices of several vegetables are above ₹100 a kg and more importantly wages have increased over 30-40%.”

Pricing strategy

Restaurants have increased prices, based on location. For instance, a chain of tea outlets with operations across the city has increased prices only at its branches on high streets. “Customers who come to my T. Nagar outlet are average people and students. If I hike prices here, the footfall will come down,” owner of this chain said. Some restaurant owners have decided to wait until the first week of June and then take a call on revising the prices.

And some hotels have made strategic changes which would help them reduce cost. A popular hotel with branches across Tamil Nadu has changed the size of its cutlery to cut cost. Ranjith, who runs a food truck at Kilpauk, said he has asked his employees to reduce the size of the plate.

Most hoteliers said ever since the pandemic, hiring workers has become problematic and those working in the kitchen are demanding more wages or prefer to switch jobs. Those who are getting between ₹12,000 to ₹15,000 a month are now asking a minimum of ₹18,000 a month, they said.

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Printable version | Jun 8, 2022 9:17:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/eating-out-gets-expensive-as-prices-wages-go-up/article65459877.ece