With escalating rates of inflation, restaurants across Alberta have been paying the price. 

“We’ve had to update our menus multiple times due to inflation, supply chain issues, and uncertainty- we are getting tired of eating the cost, and hearing the backlash from customers when it comes to the price of our meals.” – Calgary Restaurant Owner

We’ve all been shocked by the ever-growing spike in our grocery bills this year. Alberta faced an 8.4% jump in inflation in June and a 7.4% increase in July. “We are seeing it from all angles and there doesn’t seem to be relief in sight.” – Brennen W, AHA Founding Member

The price of seasonal, bulk, perishable, non-perishable, and every ingredient between, has been steadily increasing in price over the past 3-5 years, and our association has noticed a huge outcry of help (particularly from the medium to high end dining restaurants). 

Not only have they seen a decline in clientele (who have now presumably turned to online/third party ordering, have less discretionary income, etc), but they have also been experiencing the most menu changes due to their seasonal ingredients and item turnovers. 

So the questions remain: How can one run a successful restaurant when you are consistently out of products? How can you keep your restaurant doors open when customers are cutting their dining budgets? With the increasing number of people ordering online from fast casual restaurants, how can your restaurant continue to be profitable?

While these aren’t the be all, end all, here are some tips on how your restaurant can save some costs and communicate with your clientele during this expensive time:

  • Save on printing by keeping your menus online through a QR code. This will allow you to easily adapt & update your offerings when needed – price and description. If you have a feature, then you can simply get staff to verbal it to tables, or print something small in house. Consumers know it now (thanks to the pandemic) and it’s an easy way to save on some printing costs.
  • Talk with your suppliers. It’s their job to know the ins and outs of production (and update you of any potential shortages) so try to order items that you know have a strong cadence and are in season.
  • Be real, calm and genuine with your guests. If a customer has a particular opinion on the cost of items, you may want to calmly remind them of the inflation they see happening all around them- particularly using the grocery store as an example. Most rational people understand once they are calmly communicated with…and if not, then you probably don’t want them as a guest anyway! 😉
  • Introduce some higher margin items on your menu. Take some time to see what is trending in the industry and see how you can spin it in a cost effective (and delicious way!) You can be a part of the dining trend, but still capitalize on some extra revenue.
  • Have feature items. Feature items allow your restaurant to have the flexibility to utilize ingredients you may want to use up by a certain time, host a MP, and they are generally very well received by guests (due to their exclusivity)
  • See about adding an online delivery or pick up component to your offerings. The pandemic has made a lot of consumers turn towards online ordering, and the added ease of enjoying a restaurant quality meal within their own home. There is also research that suggests people are more likely to accept the higher cost of the service (tip, delivery, menu items) because they view it as a more convenient, laid back experience…(we know, it’s frustrating)
  • Partner with AHA. Okay okay, we had to slip that in there, but for good reason! We have a strong network of like-minded hospitality owners who are open to collaboration and resource sharing. We also have many sponsors and supporters who offer perks and feature pricing to our members, allowing them to save where they need it!


For more information on how you can join the Alberta Hospitality Association, visit here: