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Springfield restaurant balks at eggstravagant egg prices

Scrambler's Diner, located on East Republic Road in Springfield.
Daniel Nichols
Scrambler's Diner, located on East Republic Road in Springfield.

Across the country, rising egg prices have left buyers tightening their belts. The price increase has also touched restaurants in the Ozarks.

In the back of Scrambler’s Diner in Springfield, a stove sizzles with an order of eggs and hashbrowns. As the cook cracks open an egg, two yolks come out of the shell. That extra yolk is little comfort to restaurant owners and consumers alike, who are facing egg prices more than twice as expensive than two years ago.

Bill Cox, part owner at Scrambler’s Diner, says he’s seen egg prices skyrocket in the last few years.

“My goodness, I’ve seen it go from $9.95 for fifteen dozen up to $85 for fifteen dozen,” Cox told KSMU.

He says the restaurant has had to raise its menu prices 15% just to cover the cost of eggs.

“There’s no question about it, sales have slowly gone down. Customer count has gone down more than sales.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of a dozen eggs in the average U.S. city in December 2021 was $1.78. A year, later, that price was $4.25, almost two-and-a-half times as expensive.

A mix of factors is to blame for the pain at the plate. Rising energy and labor costs are partially responsible, but a big culprit is the outbreak of avian flu among chickens, which killed 50 million birds in the last year. Chickens living on a farm that’s been infected are killed, lowering the number of egg producers even more. Nearly 480,000 chickens were culled in Missouri since the outbreak began.

Luckily for egg-lovers, cases of the avian flu have gone back down since the start of the New Year, and egg prices have started to follow.

Back at Scrambler’s, Cox says he’s seen the price go down in the last couple weeks, and hopes to see the price fifteen dozen eggs go back down to around 30 or 40 dollars. He hopes prices come down soon, for himself and for the average consumer.

“There’s a lot of people throughout the communities of our country that, they live on eggs. It’s a cheap product and it’s good to eat. And I wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t good to eat,” Cox adds.

But until prices return to normal, paying for breakfast won’t be over easy.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.