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Weathering the Current Inflation Storm

Weathering the Current Inflation Storm

Why Barbell Pricing Could Be Your Best Defense

As food prices continue to rise, finding that sweet spot between your costs and what customers are willing to pay can be quite the challenge. To help, we took a deeper look into an age-old tactic called Barbell Pricing. It’s nothing new to the restaurant industry, but with all the concern and anxiety around inflation, it’s definitely making a resurgence in foodservice conversation. So, let’s dig in and see if this proven pricing strategy is right for you.


Here’s the short answer: Barbell Pricing is the practice of promoting both high- and low-price menu items to appeal to a broader range of customers1. For you, that means keeping most of your menu offerings safe and dependable while being aggressive and risky with a select few.


Barbell Pricing works because it can help balance the divide between those who are hurting by inflation and those who aren’t. For instance, lower-income folks are more sensitive to rising prices and are dining out less for obvious reasons. By offering discounts and value-oriented meal options, you might be able to recoup some of that lost traffic.

In terms of higher-income earners, they are actually dining out more. In fact, restaurant meals over $50 are up 8% this year compared to 20191. That means there’s an opportunity to capture diners on the high end of the spending spectrum with premium dishes that can protect your margins.

When done right, this simple, two-pronged approach can help you to drive more traffic without eroding the integrity of your menu. And that can make it a whole lot easier to weather the current inflation storm.


As inflation concerns continue, many businesses are focusing on the value side of the pricing equation to keep people coming in the door. It’s an understandable reaction, but if you lean too heavily into aggressive discounts, you’ll end up surrendering your average check size. And that could mean a big shift down in overall profits and quality of your offerings.

On the contrary, staying away from value-focused meals altogether could mean missing out on an opportunity to generate more traffic.

The secret to any pricing strategy is balance. And Barbell Pricing seems to be a smart way to appeal to a wider range of customers so you can keep your pricing bases covered without too much disruption to your menu.


Given these crazy times, the ideal product needs to 1) work across your menu 2) avoid adding back-of-house complexity and 3) come at a price point that’s still approachable. Could our premium prepared proteins be the right choice for you? We think so! Here’s a glimpse into a few products that meet all the above.

CAFÉ H® Barbacoa

This fully cooked global fare is on-trend, wonderfully versatile and works all across your menu.

Higher End:
Barbacoa Banh Mi
Lower End:

AUSTIN BLUES® Beef Brisket

Meticulously smoked in rotisserie-style pits, this brisket can be leveraged in all kinds of ways and across all dayparts.

Higher End:

Smoked Meats Platter
Lower End:
Breakfast Tacos or Nachos

If you’d like to talk about which proteins are right for your menu, please get in touch. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

1OpenTable via Restaurant Business Online 11/22

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