Hungarian restaurants and pizza places are in despair because of the soaring energy prices and have no idea what they will do during autumn and winter. Some lower the quality of their ingredients and change recipes to save money, but price rises seem inevitable. You cannot buy a pizza below HUF 3,000 now (EUR 7.5), but that might soon change to HUF 4,000 (EUR 10). That would be a 33 percent increase.
According to Pénzcentrum, apart from baths, hotels and cultural institutions, even restaurants must close temporarily or permanently because of the energy crisis. That is the third big challenge for the sector after the coronavirus pandemic and the labour shortage in just a couple of years. The question is whether people will pay considerably higher prices if the restaurants, including some pizza places, do the inevitable.
Based on a May gastro survey, the favourite international food of Hungarians is pizza. 42.3 percent said they would prefer that. Orsolya Hartyányi, the business development leader of Wolt Hungary, said residents of Budapest order thousands of pizzas each day.
Pénzcentrum argues that it is rare to find a restaurant offering pizza for less than EUR 7.5 in Hungary. As a result, fewer people can afford to eat that delicacy, so the number of closing pizza places is increasing. Pizza Monkey, a restaurant in Szeged, said their gas bill would be 8-9 times higher than before from 1 September.
Furthermore, the owner said their utilities rose by 300-400 percent in the last three years. Moreover, they pay 100-150 percent more for the ingredients and doubled wages. However, they could increase pizza prices only by 20 percent. He says nobody can endure in such circumstances, they should have doubled pizza prices at least. “But we do not dare it since we would lose our customers”, he added.
Their strategy is to open more and more restaurants and sell as many pizzas as possible. As a result, despite the low profitability rate, they can remain in the business.
The owner said it was now easier to find workers because many restaurants closed and the summer peak ended. However, he believes that many restaurants will close.
Viktor Egenhoffer, the operation director of Pizza Me, said they would not like to lower quality or quantity. Therefore, they increased their prices partly because of the weak forint since they work with foreign ingredients. Now the energy prices increased drastically, he said. One of their electricity bills was HUF 300,000 (EUR 741), while now it is HUF 1.8 million (EUR 4,447). Instead of one drastic price rise, they increase step by step.
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