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Wowprime Group recently announced it would raise menu prices by 5% starting Oct. 25. The picture shows one of its hot pot outlets in Kaohsiu… (CNA photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — People are going to pay much more for their food orders in Taiwan when the country lifts dine-in restrictions for nearly all outlets, with skyrocketing food costs cited as a big reason.
With over 420 dining outlets nationwide, Taichung-based Wowprime Group recently announced the group is going to raise menu prices by 5% starting from Oct. 25, citing the increasing cost of imported beef and payrolls. Several large dining brands plan to follow suit, and some already have.
Imported American beef has gone up a record 50% since 2020, Wowprime explained. Meanwhile, sugar has gone up 30%, vegetables 20%, poultry and seafood 15%, and local pork has gone up nearly 8%.
Chen Kai-yu (程開佑), founder of the Taiwan point-of-sale software provider iCHEF, told CTWANT food costs surged 15% over the past three months and he expected that at least 30% of restaurants will pass on the soaring costs by the end of the year. He estimated the hike would range between 5% and 10% for operators to cover the costs.
"Many restaurants will reflect the higher costs in their menu prices before Jan. 1, 2022, when the new minimum wage enters into force," he added.
Currently, the monthly minimum wage stands at NT$24,000 (US$860), while the hourly minimum wage is NT$160. Raising the monthly minimum wage by 6% would boost the monthly wage to NT$25,440, an increase of NT$1,440.
Whether inflation can be tamed next year will depend on how soon the impact of the COVID-induced port disruptions in the U.S. supply chains can be dealt with, Chen commented.
The latest Wholesale Price Index in Taiwan increased 11.96% from last year, the sixth consecutive month with an annual increase that exceeds 10%. Economist and CEO of Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development Wu Dachrahn (吳大任) indicated that inflationary pressure has persisted since April but the months-long COVID restrictions have deterred local food service providers from passing on the costs.
"The situation might change as people are coming back to restaurants and the country's stimulus vouchers are hitting the road," he said.
Updated : 2022-05-08 00:34 GMT+08:00
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