Restaurants adapt to keep up with rising egg prices

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:24 PM EST
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HAMPDEN, Maine (WABI) - Egg prices have climbed significantly in recent weeks, more than any other grocery category, according to the consumer price index.

Experts say bird flu is the main culprit, but inflation plays a factor, too.

Laurie Wilbur has owned and operated Coffee Break Café in Hampden since December 2016.

Like other restaurants across the country, they, too, have felt shell shocked due to the rise in egg prices.

“Eggs took a jump right now, and we felt it bad,” she said.

When Wilbur first took over in 2016, she says she was able to buy a case of eggs for $17.

She’s now spending more than $73 per case.

The restaurant goes through at least two cases a day, so that price adds up quickly.

Even though the price of a carton of eggs has skyrocketed in recent weeks, restaurant owners we spoke with say they are doing their best not to pass that cost on to their customers.

“My dining room is full. I’m not going to increase unless I really have to.” Wilbur said.

“When times are like this, you make adjustments just to keep your prices where they are and the customers here, they’re supporting us through thick and thin.”

In Bangor, the owners of Chases’ Family Restaurant are feeling the pinch, too.

“This is extremely high, even for eggs,” said owner, Stephen Chase “Now you’re at $86.50 for a 15-dozen case - $5.77 a dozen for eggs, and we are open for breakfast. That doesn’t even cover all the baking and other things you use eggs for. You just have to have them.”

Chase says they, too, are adjusting the menu, like avoiding using eggs during lunch and dinner.

When it comes to their breakfast menu, they have not adjusted their prices, but Chase says that could happen if they do not see some relief soon.

“We have to price fairly, and we get a lot of hardworking guys and families that come in here to eat,” he said. “I think that we will see some relief eventually, hopefully sooner than later.”