Egg-spect the Worst: Egg Shortages Affecting Profits

June 29, 2015 - 4 minutes read

Does your restaurant depend on eggs? If you’re a diner or breakfast joint, the obvious answer is yes. Eggs and bacon are your bread and butter, but even restaurants that aren’t egg-specially geared towards breakfast fare have some egg-dependence too. How else would the breadcrumbs stick to your chicken cutlets, or your pastry get such a browned crust? If you’re in the restaurant business, there’s a good chance you use eggs everyday as a component of your food preparation or menu.


Restaurants across the Midwest have seen a spike in egg prices after the most recent outbreak of H5N2 avian influenza in mostly commercial chicken farms and some backyard flocks as well. According to the USDA’s Avian Influenza Status Report, over 210 commercial chicken facilities in 21 states have detected bird flu among their chickens. Roughly 50 million chickens and turkeys have died over the past few months because of the bird flu outbreak.


As a restaurant owner, you need to start planning for the next few months with egg shortages and price increases, as this will have an impact on your revenue and customer satisfaction.

The owner of Half Baked Patisserie told The News Journal that eggs “are ruining my life…the price of eggs has literally doubled and that’s huge when they’re in 100 percent of what you put out.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “the rising cost of eggs might soon result in more expensive meals for customers…the wholesale price of a dozen large eggs in the South Central region that includes Missouri has jumped from about $1.15 at the beginning of May to about $2.51 [on June 15th].”


To combat the high prices, many restaurants are re-evaluating their egg usage, and trying to find the best solution for both their pockets and their customers. Although this is the last resort for many restaurants because of negative customer response, some egg-heavy establishments are increasing prices on menu items that include eggs. This menu price increase is supposed to help off-set the wholesale price increase, but there are growing concerns that restaurants may not be able to get any eggs at all, even at a higher price. Some moderate-egg  establishments are substituting other ingredients in place of eggs for their menu items, Other establishments who are moderate egg-users are either removing items from the menu that include eggs, or substituting the eggs for a different ingredient. An interesting solution came from one of the most popular fast-casual chains, Whataburger. Time reports: “Whataburger decided to scale back its breakfast hours in order to cope with an egg supply that was both limited and expensive.”

Sources are unsure when the egg prices will normalize, and there is still growing concern of a second wave of infections.

In the meanwhile, if your restaurant is heavily-dependent on eggs you should consider reworking your menu or adding a surcharge to items with eggs. Plenty of dishes can be made egg-free with certain substitutes, and the elimination of animal products from certain menu items can create new, vegan options for your diners. The way you market this egg-splosive event can create a new opportunity for your restaurant.

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