Restaurants and customers are feeling the effects of inflation, according to the third quarter 2022 data for the Yelp Economic Average (YEA) report, The report reveals that inflation experiences have intensified for consumers in every state in the U.S. year over year, with reviews mentioning inflation up by 22 percent compared to Q3 2021.
Yelp found that food businesses are seeing one of the largest increases of inflationary experiences compared to Q3 2021, followed by restaurants. In response, consumer searches for budget-friendly dining and grocery options are higher than Q3 2021.
Consumers report experiencing inflation the most at food businesses and restaurants, with inflation mentions in reviews up 31 percent and 28 percent, respectively year over year. Of all Yelp restaurant categories that saw an increase in inflationary experiences, a quarter of them serve Asian cuisine, with a 24 percent average increase of inflation mentions from Q3 2021. Additionally, grocery stores and markets make up four of the top five food businesses with an increase in inflationary mentions in reviews compared to Q3 2021. Food businesses primarily selling desserts also saw a 29 percent average increase in inflation mentions compared to Q3 2021.
“Yelp data shows that food businesses and restaurants across the country have seen some of the highest increases in inflation mentions,” Pria Mudan, data science leader at Yelp, told Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine. “This could be driven, in part, by ongoing supply chain issues impacting the costs of materials for these businesses. For instance, dairy market disruptions make butter and milk more expensive, which are essentials for most dessert businesses. It’s possible that price fluctuation for specific goods and materials have disproportionately impacted some restaurants.”
In Q3 2022, searches for budget dining and grocery options are up by 11 percent from the previous quarter and nine percent compared to Q3 2021. Within these searches, Yelp data shows that searches for terms related to affordable groceries were used 67 percent more often compared with Q2 2022 and 126 percent more compared to Q3 2021. Additionally, searches related to fast food and fast casual dining are up by 10 percent compared with Q2 2022 and eight percent more compared to Q3 2021.
Not all states are turning to these budget options equally, Yelp data shows that the states with the highest increase in searches related to affordable dining and groceries in the past quarter were in Washington D.C. (up 27 percent), Louisiana (up 26 percent), New York (up 25 percent), West Virginia (up 24 percent), Pennsylvania (up 20 percent) and Mississippi (up 20 percent).
“The recent Consumer Price Index report found that prices for food away from home was up 8.5 percent from 2022,” added Mudan. “At the same time, Yelp data shows consumers are increasingly searching for affordable and quick dining options. As restaurant owners navigate rising costs and supply chain issues, they may reevaluate their takeout and casual dining menu options to adapt to consumer interests.”