Czechs spending a record amount on lunches: What can you expect to pay in Prague these days?

Prague loses its crown as the lunch spending king in terms of highest average lunch price.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 13.07.2021 13:24 (updated on 13.07.2021)

Lunch spending has been going up in the Czech Republic. The average amount spent on lunch in the second week of June hit CZK 137. Overall, the average spending has risen sharply since the pandemic began, but actually dropped in some areas including Prague and Brno. The overall number of lunch transactions is also still down sharply.

In March 2020, the nationwide average spent on lunch was CZK 120.40. It has risen monthly since then, already hitting CZK 125.40 in April 2020 and 129.50 in May 2020. The rate of increase slowed after that, according to figures from food voucher company Edenred. Figures are based on data from payments made by over 250,000 employees who use Edenred's food voucher card.

Spending in Plzeň is currently the highest, at CZK 143.90. Prague and Liberec shared second place at CZK 140.20. Bargain hunters can go to Olomouc, which is cheapest at CZK 125.70, or enjoy a trip to Ostrava, where the average is CZK 129.90.

Traditionally, Prague had the highest average spending on lunches, but it has fallen from the top, largely due to factors related to the pandemic. The average spending on lunch actually fell by CZK 8 year on year.

Prague has the highest proportion of people working in offices, and these employees also have the highest food allowances. When many of them switched to working from home, Prague restaurants lost a large number of their highest-paying customers, according to Edenred’s analysis. The people still going out for lunch were the ones who did not spend as much as the top-level office workers.

The same situation occurred in Brno, with a CZK 3 year-on-year drop to CZK 131.5 in June 2021.

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In a year-on-year comparison nationwide, though, current spending on lunches in restaurants is on average 2.6 percent higher than last June, when it was at CZK 133.40.

“The year-on-year growth reflects the inflation trend in the Czech Republic. We expect lunch prices and spending levels to continue to rise,” Edenred CEO Nicolas Eich said, according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes.

Not only are catering businesses facing higher prices for raw materials and staff shortages, but Czechs are still eating out less than they did before the pandemic. Edenred recorded 57 percent fewer lunch transactions this June than in the pre-pandemic period. In June 2020, when the first wave ended, the drop was still 22 percent. The largest drop was in April 2020, down 85 percent.

“The food service crisis is not over with the end of the last coronavirus wave, the drops in food sales are higher than we expected,” Eich said.

He added that there wasn't any euphoria when restaurants reopened their outdoor seating on May 17 or indoor seating on May 31, as there had been after the easing of regulation at the end of the first wave in June 2020. “We hear from restaurateurs that people go for beer again. But this is not yet the case with food. If this remained the case, there could be another outflow of people from the industry, or another wave of pub closures,” he said in a press release.

The days when one could dine at midday for around CZK 100 are a distant memory, as prices haven’t been that low since 2015. The average is December 2019 was CZK 101.70, the earliest figure that Edenred states.

Average spending on lunch (June 2021)

  • Plzeň: CZK 143.90
  • Liberec: CZK 140.20
  • Prague: CZK 140.20
  • České Budějovice: CZK 139.00
  • Karlovy Vary: CZK 137.30
  • Pardubice: CZK 137.30
  • Czech Republic: CZK 137.00
  • Ústí nad Labem: CZK 136.30
  • Brno: CZK 135.40
  • Hradec Králové: CZK 134.20
  • Jihlava: CZK 134.20
  • Zlín: CZK 131.50
  • Ostrava: CZK 129.90
  • Olomouc CZK 125.70

Source: Edenred

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