Nothing Is Safe From Rising Gas Prices

American restaurateurs are the latest people to worry that rising gas prices could put them out of business.

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A closed sign hangs on a restaurant door.
We can’t have nice things.
Photo: Barbara Gindl (Getty Images)

It often feels like we can’t have anything nice these days. The new GR Corolla will be ruined by dealer markups, the Mazda Miata has all but lost its manual gearbox and now, rising gas prices are wreaking havoc on the simple joys of going out for dinner. It’s heartbreaking to see.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the rising price of gas ever since it tipped past $4 a gallon. It has been shocking to see how long it stayed there, and now, the casualties of the price rise are starting to roll in.

I’m sure we all expected that more expensive gas would mean a price hike on a lot of products due to increased delivery costs. But, did you ever expect that pricey petrol would shutter your favorite restaurant? Well, apparently it could.

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According to a new report, restaurant and bar owners across the US are beginning to worry about the impact expensive gas could have on their businesses.

A photo of someone filling up a truck at a gas station in the USA.
The price of gas, keeps on rising, nothing comes for free.
Photo: Brandon Bell (Getty Images)
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Market research company Technomic has been looking into the impact rising fuel costs could have on the hospitality sector, and it makes for fairly grim reading. The report warns that every $0.50 rise in the cost of a gallon of gas hits public spending by as much as $68 billion.

As prices rise, the report found that so too does the cost of many menu items in your favorite diner. But that should come as no surprise; delivery costs are up, and it’s more expensive for chefs and staff to get into work to cook for you.

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But, sadly, that isn’t the only way expensive fuel hits bars and restaurants.

In fact, during a survey of 475 US consumers, Technomic found that 86 percent of those polled said rising gas prices were having an effect on their spending on other goods and services.

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The report warned that “restaurants and other leisure activities are the main areas where consumers say they are cutting back due to high gas prices.”

So, while restrictions on indoor dining have been waning as the Covid-19 pandemic eases, rising fuel prices have brought a new set of challenges for the struggling restaurant industry.

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The report from Technomic warned that historic data shows that as soon as gas surpasses $4 a gallon, consumers begin cutting their restaurant spending.

A photo of an outdoor dining venue in New York City.
Restaurants were just starting to recover from the pandemic.
Photo: Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)
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Limited service restaurants like many well known chains are the most likely to take the hit, with 49 percent of those poled saying they would cut spending in such venues.

These were closely followed by full-service restaurants, which are venues where the staff are much more attentive and help create the environment you want from a nice trip out. But sadly, 48 percent of those surveyed said they would cut spending in these such venues.

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As someone who’s previously worked as a venue manager and spent the last four years covering the hospitality industry, this is pretty bleak news to read. During the pandemic, countless bars and restaurants around the world shuttered their doors for good, including some pretty high-profile venues that had broken new ground in global cocktail culture.

And in the venues that did make it through unscathed, many across the industry were beginning to feel hopeful that better times were on the way. But sadly, they might not be out of the woods just yet.

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So please, let’s not let rising gas prices take away everything that’s dear to us, please.