The hot dog, which was 7 lira last year, increased by 185% this year to 20 lira… The chicken doner wrap, which was 16 lira, increased by 125% to 36 lira. A menu that was 37 lira last year, especially in fast food restaurants, frequented by students and employees, is 63 lira with a 70% increase.
Inflation, which is felt in all aspects of life, first dreamed of a house and a car. Even eating in restaurants has become a luxury with the decline in purchasing power. The annual food inflation, which is 93% according to TÜİK and 108% according to TÜRK-İŞ, has been reflected in restaurant and buffet menus with an increase of 185%.
Nuri Bey, who has worked in a doner shop in Şişli, Istanbul for 10 years, says the menu, which consists of an average meal, soup, coke and dessert, costs 100 lira. Recalling that the same menu was at a maximum of 40 lira last year, Mr Nuri said:
“We are currently selling 330ml of Coke for 15 lira, it was 7 lira last year. Our portion kebab sales have almost stopped, our chubby kebab with lots of bread is in demand.
Another restaurateur says that the sale of drinks as an accompaniment to the meal has stalled. Stating that beverage companies have taken action and campaigned in the face of this situation, the operator says, “We make a menu with wrap and cola and give them for the price of the wrap.”
Özer Öztürk, who has been running a buffet in Şişli for five years, lists the reasons for selling the hot dog, which he sold for 7 lira last year, for 20 lira this year:
“Last year I used to buy the sausage at 45 lira per kilo, now it’s 135 lira. My electricity bill, which was 1,000 TL, has become 6,000 TL. Now I find 20-25 tough when I was selling 50 a day and they are only for tourists.
On Sundays, we approach young people looking at menu prices on the food floor of a mall. Saying that the cheapest and smallest menu costs 40 lira, the youngsters say: “The prices of the burgers we shared last year like the airport price are everywhere now”.
CONTRACT NOT MADE
One of the sectors hardest hit by food inflation has been ready-to-eat industrial catering. Stating that contract prices have increased from 20 TL to 40 TL and will soon be 51 TL, Hüseyin Bozdağ, Chairman of the Federation of Food Manufacturers, says:
“The cost increases don’t stop. One-year contracts have been reduced to six months, now three months. We struggle to survive, we don’t have access to funding. Loan interest rates have gone up to 30%, we are eating up capital.
THE WORKER BRINGS MEAL FROM HOME
Inflation was also reflected in workers’ meal wages. The statutory food tax exemption, which was 25 TL last year, was increased to 36 TL in the first six months of this year and 51 TL in July. However, many workplaces have yet to pay these wages to workers. Even if they do, they don’t cover the cost of restaurant meals, leading the worker to eat cheap, unsafe or unhealthy food.
Tahir Kılıç, who works for a company in Beşiktaş, says that although the workplace increased its meal costs by 100%, it had to reduce the portions. Kılıç said, “The amount deposited on the meal card was 450 lira last year. This year it was 950 lire. Last year I used to bring my food from home the last 5-6 days of the month. Now I bring it from home almost in the middle of the month,” he said.
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