Inflation: heat stroke on Charente restaurants

1. Hard to get the fries

In supermarkets, the liter of sunflower oil has increased around 30% compared to January 1. 45% for frying oil. This Charente chip shop, which prefers to remain anonymous, is worried. “Before, we paid €40 for 25 liters of sunflower oil. Today I am at least…

1. Hard to get the fries

In supermarkets, the liter of sunflower oil has increased around 30% compared to January 1. 45% for frying oil. This Charente chip shop, which prefers to remain anonymous, is worried. “Before, we paid €40 for 25 liters of sunflower oil. Today I am at least 90€ for a can. “Our prices have gone up, and yet we have had to cut back on margins. Concretely, I don’t know how long I will last. Fries are a product whose price cannot be increased forever, people would not understand why they pay a small €4 cone! » Add to that the cost of gas and the drought which caused the potato harvest to fall, down at least 20%. Result: smaller (and more expensive) potatoes and therefore shorter fries! The Belgians are already alarmed.

2. Flambé meat: €30 for the steak

Eating meat in restaurants has become a small luxury. Rise in the price of cuts, pellets, cereals, the price of meat for purchase has jumped. At the River or at Paul’s in Angoulême, the rib steak has taken seven euros in one year. “It is at 29€ and our margin has dropped considerablydescribes Fabrice Léger, the director and chef of the River. But there is a threshold that should not be exceeded. We only do limos, which are already expensive. If it takes another €2 on purchase, we will remove it from our card. The duck breasts have been missing for three months.

If this keeps up, I’m going to light my restaurant with candles.

Gueuleton, in Segonzac, the restaurant which has made meat its specialty, is supplied “more and more live “, up to forty kilometers as the crow flies, describes the boss Cédric Rangier. The pork comes from the Monts Verts farm in Montbron, which has slightly increased its prices. Like the Charbonnières farm in Vouharte (€1 more, €15 per kilo now). Cédric Rangier has also reduced the proportion of duck à la carte. “ We live on the market. Even eggs have become expensive” but for him, “there is also speculation, inflation does not explain everything. » All the same, he managed well: he was able to stock up on oil and mustard before the prices exploded too much. Ditto for the mustard he uses for his sauces. On the other hand, he gave up serving his Roquefort or hazelnut mustards. Too expensive.

At Tire Bouchon, in Angoulême, the boss Stéphane Lenique, who is supplied in particular at the Monts Verts farm in Montbron, added €2, only on beef and pork, but he still had to reduce his margin. “ I’m not going to be able to do this for six more months. » From now on, he aims at the fairest. “ I buy 4/5 apples instead of buying 10 kilos, it avoids throwing away. What worries him even more is energy. “Already €300 more this year and I hear that it will go up even more. If this continues, I’m going to light my restaurant with candles “, he jokes.

3. The fish has its beak in the water

At the River, stocking up on meat is no picnic. “ But buying fish is even more complicated, there are fish that have become untouchable such as barb, red mullet or turbotreports director Fabrice Léger. We turn on the same things, cod, hake. Then it’s up to us to be creative so that the customer doesn’t get bored. This week, we made saithe, which is less noble but to make it sexier, we served it with truffle tagliatelle. » €28 for cod or red mullet on market stalls, €40 for monkfish. Even sardines and mackerel suffer inflation.

At La Cigogne, in Soyaux, Erick and Sandrine Boux favor seasonal fish such as octopus or meager, but have stopped using turbot. At the Moulin de la Tardoire, the starred chef Matthieu Brudo observes the prices reaching peaks and is sorry to see “ the fish from our coasts go abroad so that on our stalls, we find fish that is not from here. Lean is at 30-35€ per kilo when you could usually have it at 15 or 19€. Sometimes, therefore, less noble fish are preferred. »

4. Fruits and vegetables: €1.80 per cucumber!

€1.80 for a cucumber at Victor-Hugo in Angoulême against one euro a few months ago. Charentais open-ground tomatoes at €6.99, Crimean tomatoes at €6.99. The price of peaches has soared by 25% in one year according to the association Familles Rurales, 37% for peppers, 31% for vine tomatoes. Cucumber and green beans are also close to a 20% increase. The price of fruits and vegetables has increased twice as fast as inflation: 11% between 2021 and 2022. Eating five fruits and vegetables a day represents between 5 and 16% of a minimum wage for a family of four according to the consumer association. At Le Jardin, the restaurant in downtown Angoulême, a big consumer of fruit and vegetables, we are thinking about how to cushion the rise in prices without affecting the customer. “ By increasing volumes, we compensate for the rise in prices and we work with integration projects in organic market gardening, which allows us to have quality products at appropriate prices. Inclusion through work has been our philosophy since the beginning. »

Some restaurants are raising the prices of their menus

At La Cigogne, in Soyaux, Erick and Sandrine Boux increased the price of menus by €2 last spring. To compensate for increases and maintain their margin. “Customers understand. They also do their shopping. But we haven’t touched on the €28 lunch formula, which is the loss leader. » The restaurant adapts its menus according to “difficulties in supply and the sustainability of products because we make our menus for six weeks”. Sandrine Boux nevertheless notes “ that local and loyalty pay. For example, local flour has not increased. »
At the Moulin de la Tardoire, the starred restaurant in Montbron, renowned for its attractive menu on the plate and on the bill, Mathieu Brudo has added 10% to his menus. “We’ll see how it will flare up in the coming months, I do regular check-ins with the accountant. We think more about our menus, we calculate and we adapt. “His products purchased in short circuit, his specialty, are not exempt from increases. “I pay 15% more for the pigeons because the corn that the producer uses to feed them has gone up in flames. » He wonders more about the increase in the cost of fruits and vegetables that grow in the open air, under the effect of the sun. At McDonald’s, Laurent Terrisse, the boss of the Charente stores, has also boosted his prices a little. However, its margin has decreased.

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