An Aussie diner has vented his disappointment after being served a rather sad looking breakfast at a Melbourne café, claiming the same order was more substantial just a few months ago, but experts say the change may have been unavoidable.
Claiming it was a case of "shrinkflation", the unhappy customer shared a pic of the $22 eggs Benedict online, and wrote, "Three months ago it used to have a lot more for the same price."
The image shows the meal sitting on one side of a plate, featuring a single slice of sourdough bread, half a slice of ham, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce drizzled on top.
'Equivalent of a manila envelope'
The meal shocked fellow Aussies, with some questioning if it was actually served at an airport rather than a regular eatery. "This is at a café, not in an airport. That is the whole meal," confirmed the customer.
"That's the saddest, most unappetising eggs Benedict I have ever seen," responded one Reddit user, while another described the meal as the "culinary equivalent of a manila envelope".
Restaurants struggling amid soaring costs
Others lamented the current cost of dining out, suggesting Australian eateries are unfairly jacking up prices, but the truth might be less sinister. CreditorWatch's Business Risk Index from June puts food and beverage services at the highest risk of default due to their reliance on discretionary spending, which is in decline.
Additionally, ANZ Research Senior Economist Adelaide Timbrell told Yahoo News that several factors have forced hospitality businesses to raise their prices over the past year. "The price of restaurant meals rose 6.5 per cent year-on-year to the June quarter, while the price of takeaway food rose 9.1 per cent year-on-year over that time," she said.
"This is likely due to a mix of factors in the hospitality sector, including the higher price of inputs like food, electricity and transport, as well as labour shortages which have likely impacted productivity in the sector. Rising wages in the sector may also contribute to the rising cost of dining out, though are one of many factors.
"We also know that dining spending in Australia has been above-trend for some time, and while households are pulling back now, that extra demand may have incentivised businesses to put prices up, particularly those businesses that were not able to increase their output during the 'boom' of dining spending in Australia," Ms Timbrell added.
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