Lunch costs are eating into Czech wallets – here's what you'll pay in Prague

In the capital, a noonday meal has gone up CZK 45 over the past two years, and many who are trying to cut back on spending have opted out. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.06.2022 17:43:00 (updated on 29.06.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Lunch prices have been rising, and people are taking their midday meals in restaurants less often as a result. The average for the Czech Republic in the middle of June was CZK 163, but it varied greatly in different regions. Prague was the highest, at CZK 190. For those looking to save, the cheapest repast is in the Karlovy Vary region.

"It is evident that people are trying to save money and 'cut back' on superfluous items, which, besides culture, include restaurants. If we compare the pre-Covid month of May 2019 with May 2022, the volume of spending in restaurants has fallen by 32 percent," Jan Michelfeit from meal voucher firm Sodexo Benefity, which compiled the data, said.

He added that the trend continued into June, with 30 percent fewer transactions than in the same period of 2019. This means restaurants have lost almost a third of their lunchtime visitors and also a third of their sales volume.

Lunch prices have been increasing continuously for almost a year. They began rising last autumn, shortly after the relaxation of virtually all Covid restrictions, which had heavily impacted the culinary sector. Since the start of 2022, the rise has accelerated significantly, with the price rising by one or two crowns every month.

Compared to 2021, people on average in Czechia are paying CZK 12 more for lunch and CZK 28 more than in 2020, when the average was CZK 135.

Prague not only has the most expensive lunches, but also the biggest jump in prices: up by CZK 45 over two years. In 2020, the average was CZK 145, while in 2021 it was CZK 169, already higher than this year’s national average.

You can currently find a noon meal for CZK 150 or lower in only five Czech regions: Olomouc at CZK 150, Zlín at CZK 149, Vysočina and Ústí nad Labem both at CZK 148, and Karlovy Vary at CZK 147. In 2021, eight regions were at CZK 150 or under, while in 2020 all 14 Czech regions were under CZK 150.

Sodexo Benefity’s Michelfeit says that the price rises are due to higher energy, food, and labor costs, none of which can be absorbed by most eatery operators.

“Restaurants were decimated by lockdowns during the pandemic, when they often spent their reserves to survive. They simply cannot afford to shoulder all the rising costs and have no choice but to reflect them in their final prices,” he said.

He added that agricultural prices were up almost 40 percent compared to last year and energy prices for businesses had tripled.  

Average lunch prices by region (2020 Prices in parenthesis)

  • Prague: CZK 190 (145)
  • Central Bohemia; CZK 176 (140)
  • South Moravia: CZK 171 (135)
  • Plzeň region: CZK 166 (136)
  • South Bohemia: CZK 162 (135)
  • Liberec region: CZK 160 (137)
  • Hradec Králové region: CZK 163 (128)
  • Pardubice region: CZK162 (151)
  • Moravia-Silesia: CZK 155 (126)
  • Olomouc region: CZK 150 (124)
  • Zlín region: CZK 149 (129)
  • Vysočina: CZK 148 (130)
  • Ústí nad Labem region: CZK 148 (128)
  • Karlovy Vary region: CZK 147 (128)
  • Czech average: CZK 163 (135)

Source: Sodexo Benefity

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more