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Asore study: 76% of restaurants have increased prices 

The Puerto Rico Restaurants Association (Asore, in Spanish) recently presented an updated projection study in collaboration with the firm Inteligencia Económica that highlights the measures adopted by restaurants to face current challenges. 

The study was presented during Asore’s 20th-anniversary celebration. The study aims to provide accurate information about the state of the restaurant industry on the island. The survey involved participation from more than 135 companies, representing a sample of nearly 1,000 restaurants and 17 distributors in the island’s restaurant sector.

Some 75.9% of the surveyed establishments have increased prices in all menu categories, while 62.1% have reduced other expenses. Additionally, 44% have had to decrease the number of employees or modify working hours to adapt to the current circumstances.

With regard to income and sales, even as restaurants have experienced an increase in income compared to the same period last year, sales have decreased compared to the previous quarter. It should be noted that significant holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day have mostly reported minimal sales increases.

Perceptions and industry conditions were also addressed at the event. According to the respondents, 43.6% consider the industry conditions to be poor or worse. 

However, only 27.6% claim that their own business is experiencing difficulties or worsening, indicating a range of situations in the sector.

Finally, a rise in menu prices was highlighted, which, in most cases, has exceeded 5% (42.5%). This measure has been adopted to address the economic and operational challenges that restaurants in Puerto Rico are facing.“We are committed to generating and sharing knowledge about the restaurant industry in Puerto Rico,” Asore President Mateo Cidre said. “Through the projection study, we seek to understand the challenges our sector faces and work together to find solutions that promote business profitability and sustainability.”

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, respondents identified the inventory tax, electricity costs and labor costs or an increase in the minimum wage as the main obstacles to maintaining profitable and sustainable operations.

“The development of a bank of indicators and the continuous development of industry analysis is an important achievement for the business guild,” said Gustavo Vélez, president of Inteligencia Económica, who called on the government and the legislature to consider Asore’s analysis before making decisions that impact the industry.

Asore continues to work “diligently to support and represent” the restaurant industry in Puerto Rico. Through data collection and “conducting studies like this one,” Asore seeks to raise awareness about the challenges the sector is facing and collaborate to find effective solutions for the industry.

Restaurants’ day-to-day
Asore also held a special meeting with lawmakers to provide a clear and accurate perspective on the day-to-day reality of restaurants, addressing key topics such as the state of the industry and the public discussion surrounding waiter salaries. 

Members of Asore’s board, the trade group’s partners and experts in the field shared their knowledge and experience in the human resources field, providing a comprehensive view of the labor challenges that restaurants face. Industry research findings were also shared during the meeting to help clarify how the challenges it faces.

The meeting was attended by Puerto Rico House Majority Leader Ángel Matos; House Labor Affairs Committee Chair Domingo Torres, Popular Democratic Party Rep. Joel Sánchez and At-Large Sen. Keren Riquelme of the New Progressive Party.

“This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to educate in a more precise manner about the complexities and challenges that the restaurant industry in Puerto Rico faces,” Cidre said. “The information and knowledge generated here provide a solid foundation on the operation and needs of the industry.”

Furthermore, during the meeting, data and statistics were presented, providing a clear perspective on the issue of waiter salaries. It was revealed that the average tip-dependent wage amounts to $16, while those not relying on tips receive an average of $10.88. Additionally, 67% of restaurants have had to add marginal benefits as incentives for employment, seeking to attract and retain workers in this setting.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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