Last week, Starbucks raised a fracas when it announced its plans to raise prices in some regions by an average of about one percent. Prices at the coffee chain were already high, alleged critics -- so why should they go any higher? The results of a recent Nation's Restaurant News survey of restaurant operators across price categories, though, suggests that Starbucks' move was just the most high profile in what will be a series of price hikes at eateries across the country.
Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents said that they planned to raise prices at their restaurants in 2012. Results also indicated that most such price increases will be moderate. About two-thirds of those planning to hike prices said that the change would be between one and three percent, and just six percent said their prices would be more than six percent higher by the end of the year.
Most restaurants cited higher ingredient costs as the motivation for their price hikes. Though some commodities prices have started to cool, the Producer Price Index for food manufacturing has risen 9.4 percent in the past year.
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