COLORADO SPRINGS — Customers and consumers across the country are feeling the pinch of rising costs with inflation, and now local restaurants are adding inflation fee to help offset the costs of goods.
Prit Kaur, the co-owner of Urban Tandoor in Colorado Springs, says with soaring inflation, they chose to add a 5% inflation fee charge.
It can be found on the bottom of your receipt and bill. As you walk into the restaurant, there is also signage noting the 5% charge.
Kaur says costs of food for the restaurant have gone up 40% to 50% since the pandemic began. Throughout the pandemic, they've also had to re-print the menu at least three times and it costs every time. She also mentioned with each delivery, prices are going up, plus she's heard of a few other restaurants in town that have added a similar charge.
They implemented the inflation fee a few months ago, and so far, it's helped a little. She said while there are one or two angry customers, most are understanding.
"With what the cost has gone up. It's still doesn't cover for all of it. But you know, there are some angry customers that don't understand it, because they don't understand how food cost have gone up, payroll has gone up, and it's hard to find people," said Kaur. "We just tell customers the truth, that costs have gone up and we can't keep increasing our prices or changing our menus again and again."
Some other customers that News5 spoke to said if a restaurant has an inflation fee, they would just like the restaurant to be transparent about why they're adding the fee, and would also like signage or a notice ahead of time about the fee. It's important to note that Urban Tandoor does do this.
"I think if the business is genuine and honest about why they're raising the cost, I don't see an issue with it," said Louis Pizzi, a customer at the restaurant. "If a local restaurant needs to charge a little bit more to stay in business, I support that."
As for Urban Tandoor, they're unsure when they'll get rid of the inflation fee. They're just taking it day by day and keeping an eye on prices.
The restaurant also has a new addition of three robots to help deliver food to customers, and in turn, customers can put their finished plates on the robot's tray to be returned to the kitched. The owner says it's been difficult to find good employees during the pandemic, and this helps with the staffing shortages. They also say it's part of the dining experience as they believe they're the first restaurant in Colorado Springs to have robots.
News5 also reached out to another restaurant owner in town, who said they do not plan on adding an inflation fee, because they believe it could actually hurt business.
From fuel, to housing, to food, this is inflation's highest increase in four decades. The latest Consumer Price Index Report shows a 7.9% increase over the last year. A gallon of milk has gone up 50 cents, a dozen eggs has gone up 40 cents, and bacon has spiked more than $1.30 over the last year.