One BC restaurant is being transparent about the real cost of a burger

Feb 14 2023, 7:08 pm

It seems no corner of contemporary life has been left untouched by inflation, but the hospitality industry is feeling the pinch perhaps more so than others.

One restaurant in Victoria, BC, has taken to sharing a full breakdown of what actually goes into your burger and fries as a way to be transparent with its menu pricing and to give folks an idea of why things have become so expensive at restaurants.

At the beginning of February, Ferris Grill & Garden Patio posted a notice to its door with the intention to show “transparent pricing” for its cheeseburger and fries, which is listed for $21.50 on the menu.

The full breakdown, according to the poster, is as follows:

  • Wages and health benefits $9.14
  • Cost of ingredients $7.10
  • Rent $1.44
  • Supplies $0.50
  • Utilities $0.48
  • Accounting and legal $0.45
  • Credit card fees $0.38
  • Repairs and maintenance $0.36
  • Insurance $0.21
  • Laundry $0.19

Total cost: $20.25
Profit: $1.25

The point of breaking down the individual cost of the burger, the restaurant notes in an Instagram post, is to demonstrate the reality that restaurants face while operating “in this post-Covid world.”

“As business owners, we strive to create a place that can be enjoyed by the community. We have always tried to create good value for our guests, local and tourists alike,” the note adds. “We also believe in a model where staff are paid fairly, have medical and dental benefits, and plenty of opportunities to advance.”

The cost breakdown above has been calculated from Ferris’ actual expenses in 2022, and with food costs rising even more in 2023, chances are the profit margins have become even slimmer since.

These costs also don’t include marketing expenses or charitable giving.

The breakdown and the restaurant’s transparency about what actually goes into the day-to-day operations have obviously struck a nerve with folks, and while some have been supportive of the move, others still feel that $21.50 is too much to ask for a burger.

Thanks for your transparency and for sharing. So important that consumers know the reality and how crucial it is to support local businesses!” one person commented on the post.

Another said “For a burger & fries, I see $14 being a fair price,” and questioned, “Why are wages so expensive?

The problem, as the restaurant has pointed out, is that everything has become expensive, and those working in the restaurant industry also deserve to make a living wage in order to then in turn afford food themselves.

And while it’s easy to imagine that the only factors that contribute to the cost of a burger are the ingredients and labour, the truth is that a lot more goes into keeping restaurants afloat, let alone profitable.

What’s considered a reasonable price for a meal will depend greatly on who you ask, but Ferris’ burger demonstration pulls back the curtain on an industry that currently faces a significant uphill battle – one that many won’t emerge from unscathed.

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