Pricing is the biggest barrier to European restaurant and foodservice brands that want to go to North America, according to a leading academic expert. Dr Christopher Muller, professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, said there was little room for operators to move prices up. He said: “It is a considerably more price-sensitive market (than Europe). Menu items that push past the $15 mark will struggle. Outback has suffered for it, as has Red Lobster.” Muller said that while rents were rising and that the cost of capital had gone up, operators had to be very careful not to pass too much in cost increases on to the customer. Although food costs can be less, Muller said there was nothing like the same mark-ups on menu items. “Customers will just get up and leave you if you push prices too far, it is the biggest challenge for European operators looking to that market."

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