Arizona industry leader says data is flawed in report on restaurant price inflation

Aug 24, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 5:39 pm

Restaurant food...

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PHOENIX — Restaurant prices are rising in Arizona.

Arizona was listed as No. 2 on a list of states with the most restaurant inflation, according to a USA TODAY report.

The state had a 23% percent rise in restaurant costs, according to the report.

While Americans are spending more at restaurants, Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show the data is flawed.

“While we’ve had inflation here in Arizona menu price inflation, it’s not anywhere close to that. It’s more 4.5%,” Chucri said.

USA TODAY compared the cost of restaurant food between January 2023 to July 2023.  Customer spending data were measured by two-week periods in 2022 and 2023.

Churcri said the comparison is apples and grapes because the number comparison isn’t from the same restaurant but how much the customer spent in a period of time.

“As you know, I’ve talked to other people at the National Restaurant Association and while we understand what they’re trying to achieve through the storyline, it’s just not applicable here especially in Arizona, with increases of 23% on menu prices,” Churcri said.

Will restaurants drop prices when inflation goes down?

Chucri explained restaurants could become more competitive with their pricing.

“Whether that’s dropping prices or coming up with other menu items that are low cost,” he said. “I mean, you remember the advent of the dollar menu items in the quick service industry, we’ll start to see some of that.”

Restaurants can’t keep going to the menu to raise menu prices, he expressed.

“I would love to see restaurants, you know, at least temper pricing to the best of their ability as inflation lowers and I think you will, I think you absolutely will see that,” Churcri said.

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Arizona industry leader says data is flawed in report on restaurant price inflation