Rising prices at the Czech pub are devouring lunch budgets

The sharply increasing prices of three staple menu items illustrate rising pub-food costs nationwide.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 28.02.2024 13:00:00 (updated on 28.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Traditional meals in Czech pubs have skyrocketed in price in the last three years, with classic menu items such as beef goulash, Czech-style pork schnitzel (řízek), and fried cheese all seeing significant price jumps.

An order of goulash has increased in price from CZK 116 in January 2021 to CZK 182 today – a jump of 57 percent, Czech server iDnes writes in a recent cost analysis using data from payment-services application Dotykačka. Similarly, fried cheese and pork schnitzel have become more expensive by 45 and 43 percent, respectively.

A feast of factors nourish price growth

Dotykačka analysts said that higher food prices (such as those for beef) have led the cost of some dishes – like goulash – to rise faster than others. Pub owners who spoke to the publication attribute substantial inflation since early 2021 to rising energy prices and increased value-added tax (VAT).

Although energy prices are reverting to pre-crisis levels after a sharp increase, raw material prices remain high despite earlier growth stagnation. The January VAT rate hike on catering services from 10 to 12 percent, coupled with the push to raise wages, contributes to the ongoing upward price trend.

The analysis indicates that in 2023, average food prices nationwide moderated, experiencing a rise of 5 to 7 percent due to easing inflation. In contrast, restaurant meal prices at the end of 2022 were, on average, 26 percent higher than the previous year. The most significant price increase in 2023 occurred in Karlovy Vary, where the average cost of a pub meal surged by 11 percent.

Price Czech: Pub meals in JAN. 2022 vs Jan. 2024

  • Pork schnitzel: CZK 142 vs CZK 178
  • Goulash: CZK 134 vs CZK 182
  • Fried cheese: CZK 128 vs CZK 167

Prague has priciest meals

According to Dotykačka analysts, Praguers will pay the most for lunch at the pub. On average, a plate of goulash costs CZK 182, a schnitzel costs CZK 178, and fried cheese costs CZK 167. The cost remains similar to that of three years ago, but in 2021 the price included a drink.

According to owner of the Prague restaurant Červený Jelen Luboš Kastner, Prague’s demand and prices for pub meals have always deviated from the national norm.

“The cooling of demand at the beginning of 2024 is very noticeable, which is why I don't think Prague will follow an above-average price increase for lunches,”  Kastner told iDnes. 

Dotykačka notes that pubs and restaurants increase prices shortly after a state-driven price hike, such as the recent rise in VAT, adding that many businesses also raise prices gradually, in several waves, to make the increases more manageable for consumers. This suggests that prices are likely to remain stable as the year progresses.

Would you pay more than CZK 200 for lunch at a Czech pub?

Yes, but only if it included a drink 16 %
Yes 11 %
No 73 %
258 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open
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