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Restaurants face bottom-line dilemma: Eat rising costs or raise prices?

If you missed it, you’ll probably want to read AJC colleague Jeremiah McWilliams’ behind-the-scenes story exploring the rising costs facing restaurant chains and how they plan to deal with those increased expenses.

Here’s the top of his look at the industry’s bottom line and what it means to customers:

“In what is — they hope — the tail end of the worst slump in decades, restaurant chains big and small are wrestling with higher prices for key ingredients and crops. The costs of corn, wheat, pork, beef and chicken have risen and are expected to jump more next year.

“The big question: When or even whether to pass along those costs. Sure, charging more could help protect profits — but it could also startle customers already shocked by the economy.

“Restaurants’ choice of strategy in Atlanta and across the country will influence where Americans eat next year, and how much they spend.

“Some operators say they plan to raise prices gradually if consumers give them the go-ahead. Others want to hold prices steady and see what their competitors do.”

- Food and More blog

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