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Lake Balaton: Raw Material Costs and Staff Shortages Make Life Difficult for Restaurants

Júlia Tar 2022.05.24.

An assistant cook is wanted with a net salary of 800,000 HUF (2,100 euros), but there are not many applicants, says the owner of the Malackrumpli restaurant in Tihany. According to Tamás Járosi, the labor shortage can no longer be solved with better wages and soon foreign guest workers will be needed. The owner of the restaurant thinks that Lake Balaton is not expensive. In an interview published by 24.hu he talked, among other things, about price increases and labor shortages in the Hungarian tourism industry.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.

At Lake Balaton, turnover is already similar to what it was before the coronavirus epidemic, but raw material costs and staff shortages are making life difficult for restaurants. The shortage of waiters and cooks is particularly worrying, but dishwashers and other support staff are also hard to find.

Free room and board and a net salary of 800,000 forints are provided for the position of assistant cook at Malackrumpli, which is being sought for the summer season, but there are not many applicants.

In preparation for the season, we are looking for an assistant chef. We are offering a net salary of 800,000 forints – plus room and board – but the phone does not ring, even at 2200 euros, the Austrian wage level.”

During the pandemic, many people opted for other professions, so restaurateurs now face not only rising costs but also a shortage of labor. “The raw material or energy, although more expensive, is at least there. The same cannot be said of workers,” László Kovács, president of the Hungarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, told RTL. According to the expert, it is possible that there will be places where they will not be able to open or only at half capacity.

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The owner of the Malackrumpli restaurant, which falls slightly above average price ranges, says that Lake Balaton is not expensive:

I don’t think Lake Balaton is expensive, I would go even further to say that Lake Balaton, as a seasonal resort, should be much more expensive…

The owner said that food costs in this price range in Budapest this year are about 40 percent higher than last year.

The main course with 200 grams of quality meat, a side dish, and a salad costs 7 thousand forints today in Budapest in a restaurant I like to go to. These are middle-class, modern bistros. We currently offer this for 4-5 thousand forints, in some cases even less. An above-average pizzeria in Budapest today does not have a pizza under 3 thousand, but with a better topping, it is more like 4 thousand forints,”

says Tamás Járosi.

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Lángos, Favourite Food of Balaton Tourists, Expected to Be More Expensive

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Nevertheless, there is no price increase at Malackrumpli at the moment. When asked if it’s worth it to run a restaurant now without price increases, the owner replied:

It’s not necessarily worth it, but that’s not the point. I think the restaurant business for years has been about survival and not about profit.”

The full interview can be read in Hungarian here.

Sources: 24.hu, HVG, Forbes

Featured image: illustration via Attila Balázs/MTI


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