Guacamole prices are getting out of control at Charlotte Mexican restaurants, and I hate it.
Here’s a quick list of the guacamole pricing at upscale Charlotte Mexican restaurants:
- Comida – $9
- Cantina 1511 – $9.50
- Paco’s Tacos – $9
- Vida Cantina – $8.99 or $11.99 for a large bowl
- RuRu’s – $8.50
- Babalu – $9.95
- Hot Taco – $9
How expensive are avocados?
Currently, a regular sized Haas avocado (a premium avocado type from California) costs $1.04 and a large Haas avocado costs $1.45 (if you’re a nerd, here’s the full avocado pricing trend data).
If a restaurant puts two of these large avocados into your guacamole, they’re already looking at a food cost of about $3 before adding other items.
The majority of avocados were previously sourced from Mexico, but now this supply is running into all sorts of trouble – driving prices even higher.
Here’s an email alert forwarded to me from serial restauranteur Frank Scibelli (the guy who created Paco’s Tacos & Tequila, Cantina 1511, Bad Daddy’s, Midwood Smokehouse, YAFO, etc). Just look at the price increase from April to July for a case of Avocados…
Wait, some restaurants only charge $5-$7 for guacamole. Are the fancy restaurants just ripping me off?
No. The cheaper guys are likely using Avocado Pulp.
Buying avocados is not only expensive, but there’s also a waste factor – if you have high guacamole standards (like Frank Scibelli does) there’s a portion of purchased avocados that aren’t good enough for customers. This “waste” increases your cost and lowers your yield.
On the other hand, Avocado Pulp can be refrigerated and is much easier to manage.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see guacamole prices go down.
The rule of thumb for many restaurants is that food costs should be around 32% to 35% of a dish’s price. Given avocado pricing, this means that guacamole pricing is currently in line with a successful restaurant’s strategy.
Additionally, once a consumer becomes accustomed to paying $9 for guac, there is little incentive for a restaurant to lower prices — even if the price of avocados does drop.
It looks like $9 guacamole is here to stay. Ugh.
Honestly, I would prefer to pay $2 more for my margarita if I could reduce the price of my guacamole by $2.
I want to eat fresh guacamole without financial guilt, but that’s likely too much to ask.