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A server helps customers at a restaurant in New York City. Photo: Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The price of eating out jumped 0.7% last month — a staggering pace not seen since 1981, inflation data out Tuesday shows.

Why it matters: Demand is soaring, but so are the costs restaurants and other food providers face — for ingredients, supplies and staff, which are all in short supply. The dynamic is playing out on the menu in the form of pricier meals.

One big factor: Restaurants are paying up to lure employees to staff the comeback. The data is a sign they are passing on the costs.

  • "I am a little surprised that food away from home has not accelerated more given the issues around finding staff," says ING economist James Knightley.
  • "With reports of rising wages, I suspect that restaurants would be looking to raise their prices more rapidly."

It's not just restaurants. Here's a stat for the history books: Food from vending machines saw the biggest single-month cost jump on record.

  • One theory: The machines are "more common in offices and break rooms where workers are finally returning," Diane Swonk, an economist at Grant Thornton, wrote Tuesday.
  • "Many restaurants and fast-food establishments in urban centers, where offices are located, shut down during the crisis."

The big picture: All six major grocery store food categories saw prices increase — with meat, fresh fruit and vegetables seeing the steepest hikes.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

What to watch: Executives at some of the biggest packaged food companies — brands you see down the grocery aisle — see steeper price hikes ahead.

  • PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston said today ... “Is there somewhat more inflationary out there? There is. Are we going to be pricing to deal with it? We certainly are."
  • Conagra, the maker of Slim Jim and Duncan Hines, already jacked up costs —and more will be coming. Why? "[C]ontinued increases in the cost of edible fats and oils, proteins, packaging and transportation," CFO David Marberger told analysts today.

The bottom line: Whether you're eating out or at home, it costs more.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Hundreds of thousands of job postings are offering hiring incentives

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 5% of all U.S. job postings on the site Indeed are trying to lure applicants with hiring perks like cash bonuses, per new data.

The big picture: That sounds like a small percentage, but it represents hundreds of thousands of jobs across several industries and states.

2 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."

Scoop: Race to lead NRCC kicks off

Reps. Darin LaHood (left) and Richard Hudson. Photos: Al Drago/Getty Images (LaHood) and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) are both telling colleagues they plan to run for chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2024 cycle, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are confident they'll win the House majority back this fall, and the early jockeying to lead the caucus' fundraising apparatus is just another indicator of their optimism.