You don't have to look very hard these days to find a dire headline about crazy beef, and meat, prices. On the occasion of Eater Burger Week, Montreal restaurateurs shared some perspectives on what impact soaring costs have had, if any, on their burger businesses.
Sami Midani (Burger Royal) — Yes [it has affected business], very much so. Since we first opened [February 2013] prices have gone up by nearly 20%. We redo our menu yearly and adjust for the upcoming year.
Gita Seaton (Nouveau Palais) — My beef has gone up from $5.95 kilo to $9.95 a kilo in under three years. I can't raise prices to match that. I complain all the time but my supplier just shrugs. I always dreamed of opening a steakhouse but no, not now.
Stephen Leslie (Le Sieur d'Iberville, Monkland Tavern, Tavern on the Square) — It's funny I was just talking to my supplier about this. He told me that in 39 years in the business he's never seen anything like it. And he thinks it's going to get way worse in the months to come. It's squeezing my business. I sell a $15 burger at Sieur, at Tavern the burger is $18, $19. How much of a price increase can customers tolerate? Beef prices are up 20% in the last four months. Chuck is $9.99 a kilo, inside round $11.99 kilo, brisket $12.99 a kilo — I hand grind it all myself and I definitely make less profit now per burger. It's funny because I see places open up around town with cheap burgers on the menu — you have to wonder, how do they do it? What kind of beef are they using?
Younes Bengaloune (Uniburger) — Honestly it hasn't one bit. My butcher hasn't raised my prices one cent since I opened. The quantities I order (of AAA Canadian beef) have been on the rise since day one though. I believe I am their biggest customer for fresh ground beef now.