Rising beef prices have pushed the average price of a burger to nearly $16.
That’s according to new data from Toast, which tracked beef inflation and burger prices from November 2022 to June of this year.
Beef prices fluctuated over that time, bouncing between as low as $3.20 per pound to more than $4. They peaked at $4.15 per pound in May, then cooled down in June to $3.78.
Burger prices, meanwhile, rose on a more steady trajectory, but largely lagged overall beef prices. From November to June, the average burger price increased by about 2%, from roughly $15.57 to about $15.88.
The data is based on monthly invoices and transactions at restaurants that use Toast’s software and reflects restaurants of all sizes and segments.
The results suggest that many operators have been absorbing some beef costs themselves rather than passing 100% of the increases along to burger customers.
Still, a nearly $16 burger is likely to cause some consumers to wince, and that is impacting restaurants. Industry traffic has generally struggled of late as guests recoil from eye-opening menu prices.
The price of beef has remained high even as other commodities, like pork and chicken, have slowed. Chains that sell a lot of beef such as Texas Roadhouse and Shake Shack have said they expect it to be a pressure point for the rest of the year and possibly even beyond.
The main problem is a lack of supply. Widespread drought this summer has shrunk U.S. cattle herds to their lowest levels since 2015, driving beef prices to record highs. The rising costs of beef farming have added to the inflation.
That has in turn contributed to higher prices at restaurants. In July, food-away-from-home prices were up 7.1% year over year.
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