Inflation: Menu increases at caterers

Inflation continues to rise and catering establishments that buy raw materials have been forced to increase their prices by almost 15% in anticipation of the most important time of the year.

• Also read: Grocery prices: Up to $700 more on groceries in 2024

Like the catering industry, the five caterers surveyed by Le Journal have been hit hard by food inflation in recent months. Therefore, it is not surprising that turkey dishes, meat pies and traditional Christmas logs cost their customers more.

“We have seen increases of 10 to 15% in raw materials,” mentions the owner of Ailes du Palais, Sylvain Desrochers. We didn’t have the choice to improve a little.

“We take the time to explain prices to customers, but some don’t seem to be listening to the news like we are. Only 5% of our customers found it too expensive.”

The same applies to La Cuisine Maison, which opened its doors around twenty years ago.

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“Our increases occurred gradually,” emphasizes managing director Bianca Bélanger. Despite everything, we try to keep our prices competitive.

“In the supermarket it’s 15 to 20%, in our case it’s less. We have managed to adapt to the pandemic and inflation.”

The reality is the same for new companies in this industry. However, some of them have bet not to increase their prices.

“We didn’t do it. “We will do it at some point if we see inflation continuing to rise,” says Julie St-Pierre of Rosette Prêt-à-manger, who is in her second year of service. Since we are still in the early stages of our business, we have decided not to increase our prices to attract new customers.”

Sylvain Desrochers, owner of Ailes du Palais, had no choice but to increase his prices due to food inflation.

Julie St-Pierre, co-owner of Rosette Prêt-à-manger, balked at the idea of ​​increasing her products as the holidays approach. Photo Mathieu Boulay

Speaking of consumers: This year, fans of these complete Christmas meals are still there despite rising bills. According to the companies we surveyed, they are loyal to their caterers.

Spread out the climbs

A caterer from Laval, Les 3 Maîtres Gourmands, has the wind in his sails. He has noticed a significant increase in his customer base, particularly at the corporate level, compared to the previous year.

“We have increased our prices, but not to the point where it is no longer affordable,” says Andrew Emond, administration and management coordinator. In addition, our delivery prices are still reasonable.

“We can limit our increases by purchasing products in bulk for our production. The increase is divided into as many dishes as possible. We do everything we can to not ruin your experience.”

The company’s owners don’t bury their heads in the sand. Profits could be lower this year due to inflation and rising wages.

“We took the initiative to prevent our customers from suffering. We assume that this means they will remain loyal to us in the future.”

A change of direction

Since the pandemic, companies have not hesitated to change their offerings to ensure their profitability. Many of them focused on hot meals.

“Cold buffets are expensive to produce,” explains Bianca Bélanger. We didn’t make much profit because we didn’t want to sell it for too much.

“For several years we have been focusing on hot meals in the form of a table d’hôte for the holidays that customers warm up at home. It’s warmer. It’s easier for them and for us.”

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