Inflation happens, and restaurants have several mechanisms to deal with it. They have two options, they can either raise the price or reduce the ingredients and efforts in their foods. Most restaurants undergo a few steps of reduction before they resort to price raising. In my opinion, this can be fatal to F&B business.
One of my favourite breakfast is prawn mee at Taman Muda, once in a week I will go there with my mum and order prawn bee hoon, which I think is one of the best (I haven’t tried Penang prawn mee before). But as time goes by, I noticed they put lesser and lesser prawns, but they never raised the price. Maybe it is because of the tauke’s mindset that when they raise their price they are going to lose a lot of customers. So they sacrifice some tastiness of their food in exchange for lower cost. I don’t think this is really a good way to cope with inflation.
From an eater’s perspective:
- I don’t care how much you priced your foods as long as they are delicious enough
- I want to get satisfaction when I eat your stuffs
- I will think my money is wasted even if your food is cheap, because it tastes cheap.
Usually these stalls raise their price by RM0.50 per step. And a so-called step can have an interval of 1-2 years. But the ingredient reduction has much smaller step, probably 3-6 months per prawn or pork reduced. At some point when ingredient reduction is no longer acceptable, the tauke is gonna rise the price and the number of prawns and pork is restored back to its former glory. During the time when he reduced the ingredients, the reputation suffers slowly, reputation is something you cannot easily restore.
So here is my idea, maintain the quantity and quality of ingredients in your foods, but instead raise the price by RM0.10 per few months. Not only you will be able to maintain reputation and tastiness of your foods in the first place, but you will be able to help your customers to cope with the inflation a bit better as well.
I hope some food outlets will see this and try to understand the customers, us. Money is not everything, but tongue is.