According to Sodexo Benefity, lunch in a restaurant in September cost CZK 172 on average, CZK 5 more than in August, and CZK 15 more than in January. People spent the most money on a lunch meal in a restaurant in Prague, at CZK 195.
On the other hand, the lowest price, on average, CZK 153, was paid in establishments in the Olomouc region. This results from an analysis of payments made with Sodexo Benefity food voucher cards.
“Considering that the annual inflation rate reached 18 percent in September and experts expect it to fall below the 10 percent threshold in the middle of next year at the earliest, people in Prague will certainly pay an average of CZK 200 for lunch this year. And with a high degree of probability, Central Bohemians will join them,” said Jan Michelfeit of Sodexo Benefity.
At the beginning of this year, the average lunch cost was CZK 157. The analysis showed that the cheapest in September were in the Olomouc Region (CZK 152.6) and the Vysočina Region (CZK 154).
“Lunch prices have been rising continuously for the twelfth month. They headed upwards in the autumn of last year, shortly after all COVID restrictions were relaxed,” Michelfeit pointed out. The price is rising by one or two crowns every month. “But September brought a much bigger jump by more than five crowns,” he noted.
He believes this is probably related to the fact that restaurant operators dared to reflect their rising costs more firmly in their final prices after the holidays. There was nothing else left for them to do, and the rise in operating costs due to inflation was just as crushing for restaurant owners as the rise in prices for everyone else, Michelfeit said.
Furthermore, rising meat prices, which rose more than 20% year on year in August and September, are a significant contributor to inflation, he added.
Restaurant representatives had previously pointed out that people had gotten out of the habit of going to restaurants for lunch during the pandemic when they often worked from home. Even with the current cost-of-living increases, they now often bring their food to the office.