Pub-fare price hike eats into Czech lunch budgets

Lunch prices in Czechia are rising faster than inflation, especially at the pub. These are the classic dishes that'll cost you more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 31.01.2023 12:30:00 (updated on 31.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Restaurants have been hard hit in recent years both by Covid-19 and inflation. Not only do restaurateurs need to make up for lost earnings, they now face higher costs. As a result, diners are facing steeper tabs at lunchtime.

Prices for meals in restaurants on average at the end of 2022 were 26 percent higher than a year earlier, with many popular items up even more. At the same time, consumer prices overall rose by 15.8 percent, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ).

Among the lunch staples that are taking a bigger bite out of consumer's budgets is the classic Czech "vegetarian dish," fried cheese (smažený sýr) which, when accompanied by a side of fries or potatoes, has gone up 30 percent in the past year to reach CZK 170 on average. Some pubs are even charging over CZK 200.

A pork schnitzel (řízek) now will set you back CZK 200, up by about 35 percent. A serving of sirloin in a cream sauce (svíčková na smetaně) comes in just under CZK 200, but is up the most year on year of any full meal, increasing by just under 37 percent. A serving of soup was up even more, by almost 38 percent, according to ČSÚ stats.

It isn't just the Czech classics that are biting into consumers' wallets. In its price comparison of 50 best-selling foods and drinks from just before the pandemic in 2019 until November 2022, data from the payment-terminal supplier Dotykačka shows that in Prague a hamburger now costs 31 percent more, reaching CZK 219.

In Brno, the price for the same item rose a staggering 68 percent to reach CZK 211. The average Czech price for a burger was CZK 177, an increase of 25.4 percent. The most stable item price was the Big Mac, which rose by just under 11 percent and remains at CZK 99.

While these numbers represent national averages, diners in Prague will find that they pay even more; though the research shows that Praguers are willing to spend up to CZK 200 on lunch.

Select lunch prices in December:

  • Soup: CZK 56.12, up 37.8 percent
  • Sirloin in cream with a side dish: CZK 198.6, up 36.7 percent
  • Fried steak with a side dish: CZK 201.05, up 35 percent
  • Fried cheese with a side dish: CZK 169.25, up 29.6 percent
  • Daily menu: CZK 154.33, up 27.5 percent
  • Juice: CZK 37.43, up 18 percent
  • Big Mac: CZK 99, up 11.2 percent

Luboš Kastner, co-owner of the restaurant company Hospodska and gastronomy representative of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts (AMSP), said that further increases in restaurant prices can be expected as restaurants normally make a profit in the summer and make reserves for the winter when sales drop. But this year profitability already dried up in the summer leaving eateries without reserves and facing high energy costs.

Which kind of lunch do you most frequently eat?

I go to the pub. 16 %
I go to the canteen. 13 %
I bring my own lunch. 59 %
I get fast food take away. 12 %
69 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

While Prague may no longer be home to the CZK 100 lunch, many diners are turning to canteens to fill up for less, reports

Some canteens are open to the public, including the Technical Canteen of the Czech Technical University in Prague 6. Others require a pre-paid card that can be filled with cash or meal vouchers. Canteen meals hover just below CZK 200 though some can drop down closer to CZK 110 when combined with a student discount, the server writes.

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