Narbonne – Rise in the price of raw materials: the bill is salty for restaurateurs

For several months, the prices of products – meat, fish, dairy products, etc. – have been on the rise. Catering professionals have no choice but to adapt by increasing their prices or reviewing their menu. Testimonials.

In restaurant kitchens, as in supermarkets, inflation is everywhere. Meat, fish, oils, fruits and vegetables… for several months, most food raw materials have seen their prices soar, with increasingly salty notes for restaurateurs. Faced with this situation, Narbonne professionals have no choice but to adapt. Some are forced to revise their menus or some of their dishes upwards, sometimes even to remove flagship products from their menu. Others are trying to maintain their prices but fear the start of the school year, with the drop in attendance due to the departure of tourists.

“The 25 liter can of oil went up to 130 €”

At Brasserie Le France, Helen and Philippe Springer have made the decision to slightly increase their menu before the start of the season. “Certain products, such as sunflower oil, mustard, duck breast, gizzards, fish… took between 30 and 50%, sometimes even more!, testifies the owner of the establishment. Boxes of mustard sticks were €6.8 last week, today they cost €27.6. The 25-litre can of oil that we bought for €40 went up to €130! Now it’s going down a bit.”

Added to these increases is an electricity bill that has soared by €300 compared to last year. “We have increased our menu by €1she continues, and we take on our margins because we don’t want to impact customers too much, who also suffer a drop in purchasing power”.

“I removed the foie gras and the duck breast”

A point of view shared by James Wickenden, head of En Face, the neighboring restaurant. He too applied a €1 increase to his menus during the switch to the summer menu. A card that he also had to adapt to deal with increases and shortages on certain products. “I removed the foie gras and the duck breast, he explains, because of the prices but also to the fact that with the avian flu one time out of two we could not find any”.

James Wickenden and his team.

Another change: the removal of two of its flagship dishes, rib steak and salmon tartare. “Faced with demand, the price of the rib steak has almost doubled. I replaced it with the tab, which remains at an affordable cost. Ditto for the salmon, sold 27-28 € HT, which I replaced by tuna. Fortunately, the customers understand”.

Shortage of condiments

At the Auberge des Jacobins, André Brianc, owner and chef, also has to deal with shortages and soaring prices. “My specialties are foie gras and duck breast, two products that became scarce with the bird flu. The duck breasts were out of stock at suppliers who sometimes did not receive their order”, he recalls, relieved that the herd is operational again.

André and Vanessa Brianc from the Auberge des Jacobins.

André and Vanessa Brianc from the Auberge des Jacobins.

On the price side, André had no choice but to increase these two dishes by €2. “French foie gras has gone from €26 last year to €44 today. The duck breast has also gone up in flames”. Not to mention condiments such as pickles, mustard, sauces… which are running out on the shelves. “There are products that we can no longer have, he adds. We have to take other brands or stock up. This is the first summer where there are really big problems. shortages but we don’t complain, we are happy to work”, he concludes, philosopher.

Concerns for the start of the school year

At the Bonne Mère restaurant, which has been open since April on the Cours Mirabeau, Simon Meynadier has decided not to increase his prices. But until when ? “Chicken, for example, took on €2 per kilo in 6 months. If we passed it on to the menu, the half-chicken would go from 18 to 20 or 21 €. And it’s not just the chicken, everything has increased “, confirms the young entrepreneur. Another specialty of the Narbonnaise house, fish. And there too, the bills are salty. The tuna bought by the restaurateur for €22/kg in June now costs him €29.30.

Simon Meynadier and his companion from the Bonne Mère restaurant.

Simon Meynadier and his companion from the Bonne Mère restaurant.

Without forgetting oil, butter or mustard… whose prices have also soared. “If you knew the number of aioli and mayonnaise we make a day… It’s all these little things, we’re going to have to look into it. What we need is to find the right balance. For the moment , there is the wing. We are shooting at 250 seats a day this summer. But we are worried about the start of the school year…”

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