While menu prices have slightly increased since lockdown ended, operators have avoided making significant price hikes despite the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, according to Lumina Intelligence’s Menu Tracker.

Compared to spring/summer 2019, operators have increased the price of items on their menu by an average of just 1.5% since lockdown ended, with the average price of a same-line dish moving from £9.82 (2019) to £9.97.

On a dish-by-dish level, 37% of dishes have risen in price, 46% have remained the same, and 18% have had their price reduced.

When considered by course, main dishes saw the biggest increase – at 2% - while starters fell 1.1% and desserts and sides increased by 1.4% and 0.7% respectively.

“The UK’s inflation rate has fallen over the past 18 months,” said Katherine Prowse, insight manager at Lumina Intelligence. “Menu inflation has fallen across four menu seasons but continues to remain ahead of CPI inflation. Despite the financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, operators have restrained from making significant price increases.

“The Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August and VAT cuts have been implemented to support operators, so they don’t have to hike prices and risk alienating themselves from the competition. Further Lumina Intelligence highlights the importance of value in driving consumer footfall post-lockdown, so any price hikes could result in a detrimental impact.”

Lumina Intelligence’s upcoming webinar focusing on menu composition, dish complexity and pricing strategies post-lockdown, will take place Thursday 10 September.

Registration is now open at https://www.bigmarker.com/lumina-intelligence/menu-engineering-pricing-simplification-strategies?utm_bmcr_source=social.