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La Frutera handling inflation different than most businesses

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 18:52:00-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Inflation has been forcing businesses to adjust prices all year long, but one business in Corpus Christi might be setting a new trend.

"My menu price, everything is still the same. I did not raise the price on the menu. Everything the same," Joe Chen said, owner of La Frutera.

When you visit La Frutera on Airline Road, you’ll find a sign on the counter signaling a new policy.

Chen decided instead of changing his menu prices, like most businesses, an inflation tax now appears on customer’s receipts. He said depending on inflation that tax is anywhere between 7 and 10 percent.

“I saw some of my friends doing business, too. They changed their menu two or three times already because inflation keeps going up. I didn’t,” Chen said.

The change enacted in March, he said, has been well received by customers.

“Of course, I still have some customers, they don’t quite understand, but that is just like, on the past few months, I would say less than five people,” he said.

Economics professor Jim Lee of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi said he’s never seen this before.

“It helps consumers keep track of what’s going on in the market. That’s good,” Lee said.

Lee likes the idea because it brings transparency.

“(They) tell you the current price and then we almost immediately forget how much it cost yesterday or the day before,” said Lee.

Some may question if La Frutera is legally allowed to do this. There is no law that prohibits adding an inflation tax.

Chen believes he’s actually charging less than if he changed all menu prices.

Chen said La Frutera was working on an outdoor expansion before inflation temporarily shut work down.

Now up and running, he hopes to bring more people in with a seating area and food trucks.

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