A reality check might be accompanying your next restaurant bill.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the cost of food-away-from-home, or restaurant food, was nearly 8% higher nationwide in June 2023 than it was in June 2022.
California ranked second in the nation on a list of states that spend the most on dining out, with $140.29 being spent per consumer on restaurant food in a two-week period, a USA Today study found.
The only state where diners pay more in a two-week period is Hawaii, where an average of $149.36 is spent per person at restaurants over two weeks — which actually marks a 3% decrease in costs associated with dining out compared to the previous year.
Eateries are beginning to suffer the consequences of the rising costs; data from restaurant booking service OpenTable found that since February 2023, reservations across California decreased 5%, which ranked among the largest decreases in the nation.
That 5% decrease in reservations followed a 13% increase in restaurant spending across the Golden State since November 2022.
|State||% change in restaurant reservations since Feb. 2023||% change in restaurant spending since Nov. 2022|
Colorado, Arizona and Wisconsin saw the largest changes in average restaurant spending, with costs going up 24%, 23% and 21% respectively, according to USA Today data.
Meanwhile in Alaska, Tennessee and Florida, restaurant inflation actually decreased 6%, 5% and 2% respectively.
The states where the average consumer spends the least at restaurants in a two-week period are Vermont ($81.50), Maine ($81.91) and Wyoming ($83.29).
It’s not getting much cheaper to eat at home either, USDA data show. Food-at-home prices, which include grocery store and supermarket purchases, were 4.7% higher nationwide in June 2023 as they were in the previous year.
And there’s no relief in sight for consumers, with all food prices predicted to increase 5.8% by the end of 2023, according to the USDA.
Residents across California — some of whom are already worried about the state’s current affordable housing crisis — are feeling the effects of rising food costs firsthand.
According to a survey by the United States Census Bureau, nearly 87% of Californians felt that prices for goods and services increased in the area where they live and shop this year, and 82% were “somewhat or very concerned” that costs will rise even more in the next six months.
The United States Government Accountability Office says that inflation isn’t the only thing causing food prices to increase. Long-standing challenges, like weather events and animal and plant diseases, are common disruptions, the Government Accountability Office said, but other challenges – like the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine – have also interrupted the global supply chain.