Welcome to Suttonomics, where each week Eater Data Lead Ryan Sutton looks at facts, figures, and interesting data across the restaurant industry.
Fact: Someone has to blink first in a PRICE HIKE staring contest. And so it goes that Jean-Georges, amid reports of rising food inflation, has become the first three Michelin-starred restaurant in New York to jack up the cost of dinner since Per Se did the same in January. "We have increased our prices according to the increase in labor, produce, and utilities costs," a spokesperson for Jean-Georges tells Eater.
The restaurant's prices are now $10 higher across the board. The four-course menu is $128; the classic and seasonal tasting menus are $208; and the longer chef's menu is $308. Last month, the Central Park West restaurant also raised the price of its famously affordable set lunch by the same amount to $48.
As a result, Le Bernardin, Eric Ripert's seafood temple, is the only remaining three Michelin-starred New York restaurant serving a dinner tasting menu for under $200.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food prices rose 2.5 percent over the last year, the biggest 12 month increase since June 2012, with the index for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs rising by nearly eight percent. What's more, whenever Le Bernardin, Daniel, or Jean-Georges individually raise prices, subsequent price hikes often follow at one or both of the remaining restaurants in the weeks or months that follow. So expect more HIKES soon.
To put the latest set of increases at Jean-Georges into perspective, recall that the shorter prix fixe has jumped 31 percent since its January 2012 cost of $98. And the classic tasting menu has risen $60 in the same time period as well.
So if you're rolling like a banker on date night and want to do the Jean-Georges regular tasting for two, that'll run you $918 after wine pairings, tax and tip, up from $691 in 2012 when the pairings were just $120; now they're $148. That means over the course of 2.5 years, the price of this fully-loaded dinner for two has risen by $226. By comparison, the two-Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko has kept it tasting menu at $125 since 2009, though David Chang's tasting menu-only spot is a bit of an outlier. Daniel, Le Bernardin and Jean-Georges' other peers have increased their prices as well over the same time period.
For those who care about supplements, keep in mind that Jean-Georges' four-course menu currently charges $40 extra for caviar, $25 for lamb chops, and $15 for morel mushrooms.
Is Jean-Georges still a BUY at these prices? Leave your thoughts in the comments and toggle around with the interactive charts to find out precisely how much you might drop at the famed New York restaurant.