Restaurants are expensive right now, and people are frustrated. Without context, many people feel as if they’re being shortchanged, or nickel and dimed by restaurants that are still trying to rebound from Covid losses. For others, the assumption for price hikes is that food and wine prices have simply gone up in restaurants’ supply chains. And while both are somewhat true, the real driver of bumped prices is an increase in staffing and labor costs.

“So many people exited the industry — especially in New York — during Covid, and then we ended up in this place where we needed to attract people, and we had to offer them a better wage,” today’s guest explains. “And it’s not a bad thing. It’s necessary.”

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach break down Gallo’s acquisition of Montucky Cold Snacks, then are joined by restaurateur, consultant, and VinePair contributor Dave Foss to discuss his recent piece about how, unbeknownst to most diners, elevated menu prices in bars and restaurants are being driven by a surge in labor costs that have created new challenges for operators. Tune in for more.

Joanna is reading: For Craft Spirit Distillers, a Dark Mood Is Simmering
Zach is reading: Welcome to the Era of the $100 Bar Snack
Adam is reading: A Fresh Take on Fat-Washing With GN Chan of Double Chicken Please

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