Restaurants aim to keep customers happy despite rising meat prices

CAPE TOWN – The stakes are high for restaurant businesses as rising meat prices are blamed for rising food inflation.

According to the National Agricultural Marketing Council’s latest Food Price Monitor report (August 2021 edition), observed meat prices from mid-2020 have increased at a moderate pace, leading to 9.4% inflation in meat products.

Comparing the latest Food Price Monitor report to the August 2020 edition, meat products such as lamb per kg have gone from 14.3% to 22.0%, corned beef 300g has gone from 14.7% to 18.4% and chicken servings fell from 10.0% to 13.7%.

FNB Agri-Business Senior Agricultural Economist Paul Makube said the increase in meat prices was largely a combination of tight supply due to reduced slaughter and resilient demand for consumers for meat despite the challenges of Covid-19.

High meat prices are said to have pushed up food inflation in August. SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

“The favorable seasonal production conditions have enabled farmers to retain females for herd rebuilding. The increased availability of feed (stubble) from harvested maize land has also provided an opportunity for backgrounding there, reducing numbers for the slaughter market. absorbed, which reduced profit margins, ”Makube said.

Meat Sales Manager Waheed Allie said that when it comes to the meat and poultry industry, aside from climate and infrastructure challenges, consumers are neglecting the time spent making the product, slaughter at portioning, canning and transport.

“The time spent in the slaughterhouses, in particular with the crating of the carcasses, which are then transported at a very strictly controlled temperature to maintain quality, freshness and shelf life. Portioning occurs for customers who have special requests, such as restaurants and catering businesses. These cuts are mostly fillets, sirloin, rump steak and a few specialty cuts, and even when it comes to portioning, the negative aspect of portioning is still weight loss versus blood, scraps and to adornments, it contributes to the price fluctuation of the product, ”Allie said.

Spur Corporation spokesperson Heidi Geldenhuys said managing the challenges and costs of the industry without compromising the consistent quality delivered to customers is vital to the business.

“During this year, the industry has seen a number of cost increases, including high feed costs for farmers, which has impacted the entire supply chain of the region. red meat and chicken. Food inflation also ranged between 6% and 8%, with items like red meat ranging from 10% to 12%. Oil prices increased by up to 22%, which had a direct impact on the cost of transportation and packaging materials.

“As a catering group, we have had to carefully manage these rising costs to limit menu price increases and successfully keep increases below food price inflation through efficiency gains, such as valuing our supply chain and improving processes, ”said Geldenhuys.

Urban Tshisananyama co-founder Aviwe Jacobs said the meat challenge is having to stock strictly halal meat for the business.

“Our huge challenge is to store strictly halal meat which, in our opinion, has a slight difference in cost price compared to other red meats, especially lamb and beef, and affects our spreadsheet in such a way. that we can’t buy meat at the same price. every month because of the evolution of the prices however we did not really consider modifying our selling price.

“However, for a business that has recently started, we do our best to avoid changing the menu prices as we always want our customers / clients or rather regulars to be happy with our affordable prices and to do not afraid of anyone because tourists haven’t traveled a lot so far, so we just depend on them to keep running, ”said Jacobs.

South African National Authority Halaal (Sanha) spokesman Ebi Lockhat said there are a host of factors contributing to halaal meat prices, which have been made worse by the lockdown.

“There are retail differences between independent butchers and national supermarket chains, as the latter have enormous purchasing power and are also able to subsidize prices with all of their other product offerings. “

“To maintain the integrity of the halal chain, restaurateurs source their meat from independent halaal butchers who do not have the advantage of national chains. We know that there are certifiers in the Western Cape who have granted certification to those outlets where cases of contamination have been recorded, and to avoid contamination between halal and non-halal products such as pork at the level of retail, Sanha does not certify these outlets. . “

“Despite these challenges, halal restaurants in most cases absorb the additional costs with competitive prices. This can be assessed by comparing the prices of the same item in the menus of halal and non-halal outlets in national restaurants, ”Lockhat said.

Food blogger Tasneem Waggie said from a customer’s perspective, it’s about getting the right portion for your money.

“People eat out for the experience and don’t mind paying a little extra when they dine in a good restaurant. Personally, I think we need to continue to adapt, but it affects people in a way that they no longer go to restaurants as often as they would like due to the constant price increases.

“I feel like in order for a restaurant to stay open, it has to find that balance between price, portion size, experience, customer service and quality of food. If a restaurant has it all sorted out, I don’t mind paying, ”Waggie said.

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Rene M. Ladner

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