In mid-July 2022, a post circulated on social media that highlighted the pain experienced by restaurants due to inflation.
In large red print, the post starts, “A LOCAL RESTAURANT POSTED THIS TODAY!!!!” It then lays out skyrocketing expenses for things like frying oil, chicken wings, and other items. Here is a screenshot of the post, with the Facebook user’s name cropped out for privacy:
The post represents a piece of copypasta, or an internet phenomenon in which text goes viral by way of platform users copying and pasting it and re-sharing it. Snopes readers emailed and searched our website in an effort to see whether the post is real.
As is the case in most instances of copypasta, because the content of the post had been removed from its original context, important pieces of information got lost, like when and where it was originally posted.
We traced the image above back to an Oct. 18, 2021, post on Instagram created by Kwasi Moses, a chef (not a restaurant) based in Oakland, California.
In a phone interview with Snopes, Moses said that although his post has been taken out of its original context, it remains relevant in that the cost of food continues to rise.
“It’s alarming that a lot of consumers don’t really understand what it takes to run a business around food,” Moses said. “Forks, plates, cups, seasoning, everything went up. Eggs went up. If you go into the store and really pay attention to the price of food, [the price increases are] real. Some people think it’s a joke or a scare tactic, but it’s real.”
Moses, a chef who sells his own brand of butters and seasonings and also operates as a private chef, noted that aside from overall price increases, his own cost of doing business is influenced by factors that include that he is based out of California, already a high cost region. He also has to purchase special items, like tamper-proof containers, to ship his products — and the cost of shipping also skyrocketed.
“The shipping costs are putting a lot of small businesses out of business,” Moses added.
We also reached out to the National Restaurant Association asking about inflation driving up operating costs for food establishments. Spokesperson Vanessa Sink told us by email that, “the wholesale costs for food (nationally) have gone up more than 13% in the last 12 months. This is the largest 12-month increase in nearly 5 decades.”
Sink pointed to the most recently available Producer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states:
Several of the major commodities in the wholesale food price index stood well above their year-ago levels in June, including eggs (156.1%), butter (60.5%), flour (38.5%), fats and oils (29.4%), milk (22.0%), cheese (21.7%), processed poultry (21.6%) and unprocessed fin fish (20.0%). The fresh vegetables index jumped 34.9% during the last 12 months, while the fresh fruits and melons index was up 13.7%.
Sink also said that a variety of factors can impact how cost increases affect different restaurants, including things like the brands and types of products they use. The region a restaurant or food service business is operating in can also have an effect on costs, Sink said:
It’s possible that where a restaurant is located can impact it – not only because say food or gas prices are higher in the region, but also because of local policies. For example, there are a lot of places that have policies that dictate the kind of packaging that can be used for to-go orders or the kinds of single-use plastics that can be used in the restaurant. Different products have different prices, and those prices are all changing because of the input costs to create the product.
In sum, this post originated with a chef and the cost of operating a restaurant has been increasing due to persistent inflation. However, because Moses’ post has been shared outside its original context, some aspects of it are likely not accurate for many readers who don’t know that he, not a restaurant, is the originator. Additionally, Moses is a “local” to the Bay Area only; and thus “in town” is only accurate for other Oakland residents. He originally created the post in October 2021, not “today,” as the image above states.
Sanchez, Kris. “Eating Out? Why Bay Area Restaurants Continue to Raise Prices.” NBC Bay Area, 15 Nov. 2021, https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/eating-out-why-bay-area-restaurants-continue-to-raise-prices/2732098/.
“Food Costs.” National Restaurant Association, https://restaurant.org/research-and-media/research/economists-notebook/economic-indicators/food-costs/. Accessed 18 July 2022.