And Chipotle isn't alone. The world's largest fast food chain McDonald's has increased its prices by 6% in line with the growing cost of ingredients such as cooking oil, which has rocketed in price due to the Russian war in Ukraine.
Typically, Ukraine produces 47% of the world's sunflower oil. As Russian troops have blocked major ports and attacked agricultural equipment, millions of tons of oil have been unable to leave the country, causing a global shortage. According to the UN, the price of vegetable oil reached record highs in February before increasing another 23% in March, with soybean oil rising from $765 per metric ton in 2019 to an astonishing $1,957 in 2022.
The so-called "Great Resignation" is also affecting prices. In August 2021 alone the restaurant sector lost 42,000 jobs as workers quit in droves – and one year on, many companies are still struggling to plug the labor gap. Remaining staff members have been campaigning for fairer pay; by the end of this year, it's been predicted that the average US company will have raised salaries by 3.4%, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson. And consumer prices are rising to cover these higher wages. At Florida-based restaurant chain First Watch, for example, customers can now expect to pay almost 8% more than they did a year ago.