Modest price rises of 2% have been introduced on spring and summer menus as operators carefully manage increases in their own costs and pressures on consumer spending, MCA analysis reveals.

Operators are using selective and targeted price increases on dishes, aware of consumer sensitivities to strong rises in price, MCA’s Menu and Food Trends Report finds.

The modest rises represent a slowdown from the previous year, where a 3.1% increase was seen.

Pub restaurants passed on the strongest price rises, with the cheapest dishes up 6.9% and most expensive dishes up 3.8%

Brewdog made substantial price rises on 2018 menus, with the price of three vegan burger dishes rising by 19% in 2018, while value-led pub operators Beefeater, Table and Wetherspoon held back on rises.

Branded restaurants kept price hikes tight, with a rise of 1.1% on same-line dishes – down from the 3.9% increase seen in the previous year, when ASK Italian (3%), Café Rouge (5%) and Nando’s (3%) passed on far stronger price rises between Spring/Summer 2016 and 2017.

Entry prices for starters, mains and sides increased, with the strongest seen at starters, up 10.1% on the previous year, driven by branded restaurants removing cheaper items.

Vegetarian and vegan dishes decreased in price across chain and pub restaurants, by 2.3% and 6.6% respectively

According to MCA: “Cost pressures are seeing only limited sign of abating so pricing needs to be managed more frequently. Price rises of above 10% may appear uncomfortable from a consumer angle but if these rises do not affect value perceptions or sales growth then these operators should be celebrated for excelling in the art of price management.”