Cost of Living Crisis: Four solid menu strategies for UK restaurants

We highlight four ways for UK restaurants to positively pivot and encourage footfall as the cost of living crisis bites
Cost of living crisis restaurant dining room
As the cost of living crisis continues to sweep Britain, consumers across the board are curbing their weekly spending habits to combat rising costs, with a new UK survey by SellCell revealing that over half of 3000 respondents plan to completely abandon eating out at restaurants and takeaways in order to save money.

And with food inflation currently sitting at a staggering 15% (and high rates expected to persist into 2023) – it’s clear that doing nothing at this juncture simply isn’t an option for restaurant businesses looking to weather the storm.

While it’s not sustainable for restaurants to absorb every price increase they encounter, raising plate prices during the current financial situation won't encourage diners to venture out for meals.

So what can UK restaurants do to combat the cost of living crisis? How can you cover your own rising costs without alienating customers?

Cost of Living: Restaurant Tactics

One of the easiest ways to keep dish prices down is to swap out some of the more expensive ingredients on your menu. Ditch the cod for haddock, switch premium seafood for mussels, and steer clear of pricey cuts of beef.

If you’re currently using a lot of imported ingredients, then look to local suppliers for cheaper alternatives without sacrificing quality.

Cost of Living: Restaurant Tactics

Offer a Good Deal

Everyone loves to feel as though they’ve gotten a good deal. Offering a free drink with every main course, ‘kids-eat-free’ promotions during the last days of the school holidays, and even 2-4-1 offers on certain low-cost menu items can drive traffic through your door and ultimately increase spend per head on other areas of your menu.

Cost of Living: Restaurant Tactics

Be Transparent about Your Costs

One of the biggest problems food operators face when raising prices is a backlash from their customers. While most diners understand that the cost of ingredients has risen, they forget that restaurants are also facing the rising cost of labor, energy prices, and rent.

If you need to raise your prices, let your customers know why – you’re in this together.

Cost of Living: Restaurant Tactics

While we’re all hoping to see prices fall in 2023 and beyond, there’s no quick fix to many of the inflation issues we're currently facing and in reality, rising prices could be here to stay. Rather than look for a quick fix, it may be better to reevaluate your current concept entirely and pivot in a more affordable and sustainable direction ahead of your competition.
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