The Surprising Living Expense That's Skyrocketing in Major U.S. Cities

Over the past couple of months, every time I’ve gone out for drinks or dinner, I’ve impulsively balked at the final check. When did a cocktail and a plate of pasta get so expensive?! And apparently I’m not the only one; San Francisco Chronicle recently published a story about the rising cost of eating out, examining signature dishes of 14 top Bay Area restaurants and finding that prices have gone up 52% since 2005.

The cause for the increase? Lots of things: Food costs have risen significantly, linens, garbage, and rent are all more expensive too. However, the biggest factor is the increased cost of labor. The city has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation, and there are a lot of extra fees, like providing health insurance, workers’ comp, and sick days. Basically, restaurants are having a hard time covering all their costs and making ends meet, so they are forced to raise the price of menu items.

Cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and New York are experiencing the same challenges. In New York, restaurants are rushing customers through their meals to seat as many people as possible in one night. In Boston, restaurants are adding a 3% surcharge to help pay fairer wages. As the cost of living will only continue to increase, one can’t help but wonder how much dining out cost in the future.

Learn more about San Francisco’s restaurant industry by reading Discovering Vintage San Francisco.

Have you eaten out lately and noticed an increase in prices?