Zagat: High-End NY Restaurants Prices Up 71% Since 2001

Some interesting (if admittedly unrepresentative) inflation data in the latest Zagat New York City Restaurant Guide:

While overall restaurant prices in NYC remain the highest in the U.S. at $39.46 per dinner, that’s only three cents higher than last year.  … However, inflationary trends look quite different at the city’s 20 most expensive restaurants where an average meal now runs $143.06. Since 2001, dinner prices at the city’s elite have soared at an average of 11.6% per year, from $84.45 to $143.06.

[via PR Newswire]


  1. 2001 was hardly a banner year for New York restaurants– that was the bottom of the cycle. A better comparison would probably 1998 or so (or 1997, for a round 10 year comparison).

  2. Along with Don’s trenchant observation, here’s yet more depressing proof of basic math incompetence when news organizations re-print a press release:
    “Since 2001, dinner prices at the city’s elite have soared at an average of 11.6% per year, from $84.45 to $143.06.”
    If the average prices have gone from $84.45 to $143.06 at the most expensive restaurants over the 6yr period between 9/11/2001 and 9/11/2007, the average annual percentage increase is 9.1%, not 11.6%.
    Of course no one would expect an article published on marketwatch to actually get the CAGR calculation correct, would they?

  3. Here’s a WTF moment: Mr. and Ms. Zagat, cofounders of the Zagat restaurant survey, have an OpEd in the WSJ, discussing how prices in NY have NOT gone up:
    New York, New York, it’s a helluva town — prices go up and they never come down. Once again, inflation is skyrocketing in New York City. Witness the sharp price jumps over the past several years in real estate (monthly residential rents rose a record 8.3% in the last year alone, despite a nationwide downturn), hotel rooms (at the new Plaza, rates start at $775 a night), cab and commuting fares, Broadway shows (tickets for “Young Frankenstein,” the new Mel Brooks musical, top out at $450 for some performances), museum admissions ($20 at Museum of Modern Art) and even movie tickets (the Ziegfeld charged $25 for a reserved seat for “Dreamgirls” last year).
    You might think that the same is true for restaurants. But when we look at the numbers from our 2008 New York Restaurant Survey, dining out appears to be one of New York’s last remaining affordable pleasures. Prices are holding steady at everyday restaurants, real deals (à la $24 lunches) can be found all over town, and more neighborhoods now offer a bounty of restaurants that give good quality at reasonable prices. Overall, the rate of inflation in New York City dining costs has been risen just 0.97% since 9/11 — barely a third of the Consumer Price Index.”

  4. Nice catch, Barry. That’s truly a WTF moment.