Higher Prices Aren't Curbing Diners' Hunger To Eat Out

Grocery prices are higher than ever before thanks to this little thing known as inflation, but the high cost of food doesn't seem to be keeping people out of restaurants. According to Restaurant Business, a Yelp state of the industry report said that there was a 107% uptick in searches for reservations in the first quarter of 2022 despite the fact that spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was still very much an issue during the time frame.

In fact, it seems many people at that point were very much "over it," as indoor dining searches skyrocketed a stunning 6,360% compared to Q1 2020, when the world was in the throes of the pandemic. However, interest in outdoor dining doesn't seem to be waning, as searches for those specifications were up by more than 1,000%.

Interest in restaurant eating wasn't the only thing that indicated change, however. The overall experience has taken on something of a shift — and it could be related to overall prices.

Here's what diners are looking for when eating out

Although it seems that higher grocery prices would make customers want to tighten their budgetary belts, the exact opposite appears to be true, Restaurant Business reports. In fact, Yelp's report highlights that their service is being used more often to run searches for higher-end restaurants rather than their less pricey counterparts. Restaurant Business said, "The company speculated that people are resigned to paying more when they dine out and want to spend their money on higher-quality experiences."

The increase in cost isn't chump change, either. A different Restaurant Business report noted that prices at full-service establishments were up a significant 8.7% in April, compared to 2021, and 0.9% of that uptick at the same establishments occurred just from March to April! Fast-food menu prices are also 7% higher than they were a year ago. So it seems, no matter where you go and what you eat you're likely to pay more than you would have for the same thing in 2021. But hey, at least we can go out to eat now, instead of being stuck at home. That's gotta count for something.