Burger, dessert prices to rise 300 won at Lotteria

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Burger, dessert prices to rise 300 won at Lotteria

Most people consider hamburgers a cheap meal, but they are quickly becoming a financial burden as fast-food chains raise their prices.

Lotteria, a chain run by Lotte Group, said Thursday that it will raise its price on 14 burgers and eight desserts by an average of 3 percent starting next week.

Starting Monday, Lotteria’s popular Bulgogi Burger and Shrimp Burger will increase by 100 won ($.09) to 3,400 won. Just a year ago, the company announced an average price hike of 2.5 percent on 26 of its menu items.

In December, American chain Burger King raised the price of its trademark Whopper from 5,000 won to 5,400 won, and the price of its other menu items went up by as much as 8.3 percent. The chain also raised its prices in March last year.

Since Lotteria decided to raise its burger prices just two months after Burger King, industry insiders speculate that other fast-food chains like McDonald’s and KFC will soon follow suit.

Last year, there was a domino effect after Lotteria raised its prices in February. McDonald’s then joined in with a price hike the same month, followed by Burger King in March and KFC in May.

“The imbalance of supply and demand of raw materials, currency exchange rates and the gradual rise of employee wages makes it inevitable that we will raise prices,” a Lotteria spokesman said.

According to data from the Korea Customs Service in December, the price of imported beef increased by an average of 24 percent compared to the previous year. Australian and New Zealand’s beef, which are widely used in hamburger patties, led the price increase.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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