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As food inflation rises, restaurants grapple with raising menu prices

The latest Consumer Price Index lists the inflation rate for food, both at and away from home, is above 9%.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — If you're looking for a lunch break that doesn't break the bank, Sam's Hot Dog Stand might just fit the bill.

"I'm 73 now. I had retired a couple times and couldn’t stand it," franchise owner Grant Griswold said.  

The prices there still won’t break your bank, but even this small lunch hangout can’t escape from the changing economy around it.

"Everything else has gone up: our paper supplies, our ingredients," Griswold said. 

The price of Griswold's food supply is up, and keeping the impact away from his customers is something he said he can’t afford to do anymore.

"I felt I really needed to do this because we have to pay bills," Griswold said. 

To now account for still rising inflation rates, Griswold has increased his menu prices. For example, the price increase for a single hot dog increased from $3.15 to $3.35.

"We paid 38 cents for a hot dog. Now, we’re paying 52 cents. Big change," Griswold said.

Fourteen cents may not sound like a fortune to many, but to business owners, it’s those small differences that keep them in or out of business.

The latest Consumer Price Index found going out to eat is now 7% higher than a year ago. For both staying out or eating at home, that inflation rate is above 9%. 

But remember, whatever price you’re paying now, owners like Griswold see the same struggles.

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