Jun 25, 2024

Lunch Prices in Czechia: Prague No Longer the Most Expensive

Lunch in Prague used to be the most expensive experience in the Czech Republic two years ago. However, the first five months of this year show a significant change.

In May, the capital city fell to fifth place in terms of the most expensive lunches in the country. The Central Bohemian region, partly due to its proximity to Prague, now leads with an average lunch price of CZK 208.

Pardubice, the Ústí Region, and South Bohemia have also surpassed Prague, where the average lunch costs CZK 198.

“In the South Bohemian Region, there’s less competition between restaurants, and the purchasing power of Austrians and Germans who cross the border to eat there also increases, leading to higher restaurant prices,” said economist Lukáš Kovanda.

These figures come from Pluxee, the largest benefits provider in the Czech Republic, formerly known as Sodexo Benefits.

Lunch prices have hit record highs in the past. In December 2023, average lunch prices were the highest ever, with a meal in the Central Bohemian Region costing CZK 214 on average and CZK 201 in Prague. This led many Czechs to bring lunch from home to heat up at work.

“Inflation and rising prices caused about 30 percent of customers to stop dining out,” said Jan Dobiáš, a restaurant operator in České Budějovice.

Since then, most restaurants have responded to the crisis, and lower prices can now be found on menus, resisting further increases. Overall inflation has decreased to 2.6%, and 73% of employees now receive meal support, allowing them to dine out more often despite high lunch prices.

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According to data from the CZSO, average lunch prices do not always align with the average wage in each region. In Prague, the highest average gross monthly salary in Q1 2024 stands at CZK 56,372. In the Ústí Region, the figure is much lower (CZK 40,737), but lunch prices are still higher than in Prague, indicating other factors at play.

Traditionally, the cheapest lunches can be found in Vysočina, with an average cost of CZK 171. The average salary in the region is slightly lower than in Ústí, showing that Vysočina maintains affordability despite wage levels.

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