Why Montreal smoked meat sandwiches are now 'luxuries'
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 7:57AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 26, 2015 8:02AM EDT
Lovers of the world-renowned Montreal smoked meat sandwich are noticing a big change – not in the taste of the beloved delicacy, but in their prices.
Prices for smoked meats have almost doubled in recent months, all because of the rising cost of brisket.
Elliot Kligman, the owner of Montreal's Dunn's Famous deli says his food costs are soaring, and he's had to pass on those price increases to customers.
A smoked meat sandwich at his deli cost just $6.75 at the beginning of the year; today, he has to charge $10.
The reason for the increase: beef prices have risen 30 per cent in recent months. And the price of brisket, the cut of beef that's turned into the smoked meat Montreal is so famous for, has gone up even more.
"That has gone up over 300 per cent," he told CTV Montreal. "We were paying $2.90 to $3.60 per kilo for the raw material and now we're paying just under $10 a kilo."
Kligman says once the labour and supply costs of transforming that brisket into smoked meat with spice, curing and aging, the meat he’s serving customers costs approximately $17 a kilogram.
That's even more expensive than rib steaks, he says.
Kligman says his restaurant really should be charging $14 for the sandwiches to account for the beef price increases. Instead, he's simply reducing his profit margins.
"We should be selling the sandwiches at a higher price to be in that food cost of 32 per cent, but we can't. We'd scare our customers away," he says.
Still, while some patrons at Dunn's say the sandwiches are getting pricey, it’s still packed most lunch hours. Customers are surprisingly understanding about the $10 sandwiches, Kligman says, noting that some even say they’d be willing to pay a little more for the taste that many say is synonymous with the city.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Maya Johnson