When I had breakfast in town over Easter I was charged a 20% surcharge on everything, allegedly because their labour costs are higher over Easter. Now it’s true that they are statutorily required to pay more over the Easter break, so their labour costs are higher; however, the marginal cost of providing a meal is not. The average cost might be, but that could be defrayed over the course of a year if the firm planned to open on Easter. If the marginal cost of the meal is no different then why would you price the meal differently?
A non-economist friend suggested that they ‘just want more money’, but that is always true of a business and should hold throughout the year. Next I considered that demand might be higher over Easter, but I can’t see why it would be different from any other weekend breakfast demand. Weekend demand might be higher, but then why not price all weekends higher than weekdays? One could point to reputation damage if they were seen to be ‘price gouging’, but it’s easy to phrase it as ‘discounts on weekdays before 6pm and look acceptable.
I really can’t think of any good reason why cafe prices are higher over Easter. Either they’re not pricing optimally the rest of the time, or they’re losing money over Easter by overpricing. Either way, they’re certainly not telling the whole story about why csutomers have to pay more!