Decrease in passenger traffic, some companies began to increase the unit price of customers, triggering hot discussions among consumers

Catering companies save themselves, can't they rely on price increases?

Our reporter Li Guo

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Recently, news of price increases such as Haidilao and Xibei have caused heated discussion. Some consumers said they could accept it, but others said that they would not eat after the price increase. At present, catering companies have been breaking through and saving themselves. Government departments around the country also come up with real money to encourage consumption. As soon as dine-in food is released, catering companies will raise prices, which will inevitably make consumers unacceptable.

"The price of Haidilao had risen a bit too much, and I looked at Xibei's takeaway menu and found it was not inferior." On April 7, Mr. Peng, who lives in Liangjiang New District, Chongqing, told the Worker Daily .

Since the outbreak, the catering industry has been greatly affected. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, catering revenue in the first two months decreased by 43.1% year-on-year. The reporter learned in Chongqing's famous hotpot Qin Ma Group that the data is even more alarming: Around the Spring Festival last year, 12 directly-operated stores in Chongqing's main city had revenues of 12 million yuan, but only 2 million yuan in the same period this year, a decrease of nearly 90%.

At present, catering companies have been breaking through and saving themselves. Government departments around the country also come up with real money to encourage consumption. As soon as dine-in food is released, catering companies will raise prices, which will inevitably make consumers unacceptable. Can food companies "help themselves", can't they rely on price increases?

Price increase due to epidemic situation and rising costs

A Beijing diner recently said on Weibo: "I was thrilled to reopen the stove under the sea fishing line, but when I saw the price, I was dumbfounded and overdone." The menu he showed: 220 yuan per person + , Half of blood flour increased from 16 yuan to 23 yuan, 8 small slices; half potato slices 13 yuan, one piece of potatoes 1.5 yuan, self-service seasoning 10 yuan each; rice 7 yuan a bowl; small crispy meat 50 yuan a plate.

In fact, it is not just Haidilao who is raising prices now. Xibei, also a star restaurant company, has recently been found to have increased vegetable prices. On Xibei's takeaway menu, the beef stew with potato strips is 80 yuan, and the sauerkraut is more than 80 yuan.

In response, the Public Relations Section of Haidilao responded to the media that the company adjusted the prices of some dishes due to the epidemic situation and rising costs. The overall price increase was controlled at 6%, and different cities implemented differentiated pricing.

According to Haidilao, the store is currently open from 11 am to 9 pm. For the prevention and control of the epidemic situation, the tables and chairs in the store are separated by more than 1 meter, and a table does not exceed 3 people, so there are fewer open seats.

Some insiders pointed out that behind the price hikes of Haidilao, the huge losses caused by the epidemic in the catering industry were reflected. Since the flow of passengers has decreased, increasing the unit price of passengers seems to be the only choice for catering companies.

Consumers are sensitive to price increases

"You can increase the price, I can choose not to come!" Miss Ling, who lives in Shipingqiao, Chongqing, said to the reporter with a smile. Everyone's income was also affected during the epidemic. Miss Ling's statement represents the voice of most consumers.

However, some consumers said that after the epidemic, people's requirements for food safety and hygiene, as well as the aesthetics and convenience of takeout have increased. However, catering companies are facing financial pressures such as rent and employee wages. Many stores are street shops, and landlords are individuals. It is difficult to reduce free use. Catering companies need to recover their losses, and it is understandable that appropriate price increases.

In addition, it is unrealistic for catering companies to return to their previous levels in the short term. Shao Qian, media public relations manager of Xiaolongkan Holding Group, told reporters that retaliatory consumption may not come that soon. In fact, after the epidemic, people pay more attention to health and family members, and it is still difficult to say how many actual actions can be taken for consumption, hanging out, eating and drinking.

Some consumers also said that the price increase can be done, but the service level should also be improved. In this regard, Haidilao expressed its apologies for the burden imposed on users by the price adjustment of some dishes. At present, Haidilao also provides self-delivery services, users can place orders through online channels or on-site, and self-delivery services also enjoy different discounts. Haidilao will also upgrade and optimize its products and packaging materials on April 25, striving to reduce expenditures for users and provide better services.

Price increase is a double-edged sword

In the interview, many catering company bosses told reporters that with the improvement of the epidemic prevention and control situation, many catering companies have resumed work, but business has not yet recovered.

According to the “Research Report on the Impact of the New Coronary Pneumonia Epidemic on the Chinese Chain Catering Industry” released by the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, from March 1, 2020, 5% of the sample companies have no cash to support their operations; 79% of the sample companies said , Relying on its own cash can not support another 3 months; said that the cash flow reserve is abundant, and the proportion of sample companies that can support more than 6 months is only 16%.

Self-help is urgent, but the methods can be varied. Just when Haidilao announced the price increase, McDonald's launched a Monday half-price barrel for members, the original price was 81 yuan, and the price was 39 yuan. On April 6, consumers who heard the news flocked to grab McDonald's applet crash. Netizens lamented that in this special period, high quality and low price are king.

Mo Yuanming, a researcher at the Upper Yangtze River Economic Research Center of Chongqing Technology and Business University, believes that price increases are a double-edged sword. The advantage lies in digesting costs through price increases, quickly replenishing blood, overcoming difficulties, and restoring normal business order; the disadvantage is that, affected by the epidemic, citizens' consumption power declines, and price increases may cause citizens to hold their wallets and home consumption more. Will intensify the reshuffle of the catering industry.

In this regard, Mo Yuanming suggested that the price increase in the catering industry must fully weigh the interests of itself, the market and consumers, seek the greatest common divisor, and in particular need to grasp the degree of price increase. At this time, it is most necessary to hold a group to warm up, and special consideration is also given to the management wisdom of the catering owners and their ability to turn crises into opportunities. Consumers cannot be rudely allowed to pay their losses through price increases in disguise. Of course, the government's policy regulation and guidance will also play a role, such as the introduction of consumer coupons in various places will also boost consumer confidence and help the catering industry to overcome difficulties.