Why Going Out To Eat Is Getting More Expensive: A Statistical Look at the Consumer Price Index Summary

June 15, 2021

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of how much prices for goods and services have changed over time. The CPI measures the spending habits of two categories of people: all urban consumers and urban wage earners and clerical workers. CPIs are based on the pricing of goods and services that individuals purchase on a daily basis. 

Data released by the U.S. Department of Labor points to rising prices in both full-service and limited-service food establishments.  

Here are some key statistics to sum it up from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The food away from home index rose 0.6% in May following a 0.3% increase in April.
  • The index for full service meals rose 0.6%, its largest increase since last June. 
  • The index for limited service meals increased 0.5%, the same increase as in both March and April. 
  • The index for food away from home rose 4.0% over the last year. 
  • The index for limited service meals rose 6.1% since May 2020. 
  • The index for full service meals rose 4.1% over the last 12 months. 
  • This was its largest 12-month increase since the period ending October 2008. 

For restaurants, these price increases are linked to rising labor costs as they try to meet job demand. However increases in service costs are also compounded by rising trends in food costs as well:

  • The food index increased 0.4% in May.
  • The May increase was mostly due to the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which
  • increased 1.3% over the month. 
  • The beef index rose 2.3% in May, its largest increase since last June.
  • The index for dairy and related products increased 0.4%. 

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