When Yoshihiko Koyama ordered a fried dumplings set meal at a well-known Chinese chain restaurant in Tokyo in September he noticed something different — the price was a little higher than his previous visit.
Koyama was charged 710 yen instead of the 670 yen he usually paid for the set menu in a Hidakaya restaurant in the capital’s Okachimachi district, illustrating how eateries and restaurant chains such as Hiday Hidaka Corp are passing on soaring material and energy costs to consumers.
“It feels like a small increase but it’s happening at other restaurants too,” said 74-year-old Koyama who works in the jewelry industry in the area. “The cumulative effect can be huge.”
Imported raw materials from cooking oil to flour have become more expensive on the back of the war in Ukraine and the yen’s depreciation, which saw it hit a fresh 24-year low against the U.S. dollar in early September, adding to the pressure on consumers in the world’s third-largest economy who are already struggling with higher prices for groceries and fuel.
Rising labor costs are also adding to the restaurant sector’s woes as it has become more difficult to recruit staff since many eateries cut opening hours or closed temporarily amid the coronavirus pandemic.