- Some restaurants in Mirpur, Kalyanpur, Banglamotor and Moghbazar have increased their food prices
- Many are charging previous rates, but they have reduced the quantity
- The price hike has affected middle-class professionals and low-income people who eat out
A sharp rise in the prices of daily essentials has also dealt a major blow to the hotels and restaurants business, reducing their sales by a one-third.
"Our sales are down by 30-40%," Imran Hasan, secretary general of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners' Association (BROA), told The Business Standard.
He said people who usually eat out are visiting hotels and restaurants less and consuming less to save money.
"Those who used to have a few items such as fish and meat with rice are now eating rice with just a single item. Now people eat what they need to survive on," he added.
Businessmen say the prices of raw materials needed to cook food at hotels have shot up by more than 50%. But they cannot increase the prices of food accordingly for fear of losing customers.
On a visit to hotels and restaurants in Mirpur, Kalyanpur, Banglamotor and Moghbazar of the capital on Friday, it was found that some restaurants have increased their food prices. Though many are charging the previous rates, they have reduced the quantity while others have decided to adjust with the rising costs.
According to the businesses, the price of half of a grilled chicken has been increased from Tk180 to Tk200, 'naan roti' from Tk20 to Tk25, dalpuri from Tk10 to Tk15, a cup of tea from Tk10 to Tk15, mashed potatoes from TK15 to Tk20 and a plate of vegetables from Tk30 to Tk35.
Dhaka Biryani House in Shewrapara has increased the price of all its products by between Tk5 and Tk20. It is selling a paratha for Tk10, up from Tk5 earlier. It has raised the price of a half plate of Tehari from Tk70 to Tk90.
"We can hardly make any profit even after increasing the prices. Our sales have halved," Md Anik, manager of the hotel, told TBS.
Md Rashid, a sales staff at Bikrampur Hotel and Restaurant in the Dilu Road area, said that the eatery has increased the prices of mashed potatoes from Tk10 to Tk15, dalpuri from Tk5 to Tk10, and parathas from Tk5 to Tk10.
The increase in food prices in hotels and restaurants has affected various middle-class professionals and low-income people who eat outside their homes.
Many people have stopped having egg omelettes with parathas for breakfast. Some of those who used to eat rice with fish or chicken for lunch are now going for vegetables or eggs instead.
"I could eat two meals at a hotel for Tk200; now the price of the same food has increased to Tk300. A piece of tilapia fish has risen from Tk60 to Tk80 and a plate of rice from Tk5 to Tk15," said Md Mamun, a truck driver, told TBS.
Speaking to TBS at the Tejgaon bus stand, Faruk Ahmed, a day labourer, said people like him eat at low-standard restaurants where the price of a piece of pangas fish has increased from Tk50 to Tk70.
"Earlier lentil soup was free but now it costs Tk10. Due to price increases, now I eat rice with lentil soup and mashed potatoes," he added.
According to the association, the number of hotels and restaurants in all divisions, districts and upazilas is 60,000. The sector employs around 30 lakh workers.
"The hotel-restaurant sector has suffered the most during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even then we did not receive any stimulus package," Imran Hasan said.
"For our survival, we are now asking the government for easy loans at 3-4% interest," he added.
Abdul Jalil, manager of Jolpai Restaurant and Party Centre at Moghbazar, said the restaurant has not yet raised prices.
"Now we are thinking of increasing prices. The number of events has decreased significantly. Our sales are lower than before," he added.