Wolfgang Puck says the fine dining industry is feeling the pinch of inflation.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, the world-renowned chef and restaurateur briefly explained it by saying, “Some of this stuff has gotten out of control.”
“Right now, the average cost of food in our restaurants has gone up by 15%, which is a lot,” he added, adding that other costs such as equipment for preparing food have also gone up. I was.
“I recently bought a cutting board. For example, I spent $1,500 on 12 cutting boards at a restaurant, and after a week, I had $2,000,” Puck explained.
In general, Americans are feeling the pinch. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) September consumer price index (CPI), the overall cost of food rose 11.2% year-on-year, while the home-cooking category, grocery, fell year-on-year. 13.0% increase. Eating away from home increased him by 8.5%.
But for restaurateurs, food costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Wolfgang Puck says it now costs more to maintain the dozens of restaurants, bars and lounges under the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.
“Forget if the restaurant needs to fix anything. Just getting someone to come fix the stove or the refrigerator will cost you a lot, so everything will be fine,” Puck said. I was.
Then add the cost of staff salaries to the restaurant’s revenue, giving your employees an edge.
“In some ways, it’s really a buyer’s market,” Puck explains. “The employee said I want that much money. I work hours and days, which makes it more difficult for us,” said confident in his restaurant talent. , he adds, solve all these problems. “
Total employment in the leisure and hospitality sector remained 1.1 million, or 6.7%, below pre-pandemic levels in September, while food service and bar employment increased by 60,000 last month.
With restaurants all over the world, including New York City, London, Singapore and Budapest, he says the problem is not concentrated in one city or country.
“It’s really hard, but it’s a global phenomenon,” Puck said. “For example, we have Spago in Budapest… In Budapest it is just as difficult to hire people as it is in New York or LA. Thankfully we have a good name and we pay well. We can get people, but it’s more expensive.”
At one restaurant, Puck said a sommelier, who was once paid a salary of $100,000 plus a commission, confronted him with a competing offer of $130,000 a year and asked if it was a match.
Wolfgang Puck replied, “Because I like you and you are kind to your customers, I will match it.” Puck weighed the options at the time, adding, “It would cost him over $30,000 to train a new person.”
Inflation rose 8.2% last month, but Chef believes there is still a luxury segment.
“People still have money to spend,” he said. “We may go out less, but not really that much. Las Vegas has restaurants. I’m sure, because if they lose enough money, we’ll get customers.
Brooke DiPalma is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her @@ on Twitter.brooke di palma Or email [email protected]
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