Why rising food prices could help the ailing U.S. restaurant industry

Food prices are rising at historic rates, reports CNBC, but it could end up helping the restaurant industry, which has seen sluggish sales growth during the recent Omicron surge. Shoppers saw a 6.5 percent increase in prices over the last 12 months at grocery stores, according to a recent Department of Labor report, with meats, poultry, fish and eggs seeing the highest increases. That means the cost of eating at home is rising faster than dining out. Restaurant chains, of course, are also affected by rising food prices—Domino’s Pizza, for example, predicts its food basket costs will spike by 8 percent to 10 percent in 2022. But the narrowing inflation gap could help tilt more price-conscious consumers toward eating at restaurants, noted a Bank of America Securities analyst. —Patricia I. Escárcega