Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Every week in the States most major metropolitan daily newspapers devote a section of the paper to food. Last week it seems that all of them had the same angle: how the economic shakeup is going to affect the food industry, particularly restaurants.
From The New York Times:
"It's been scary," said Michelle Bernstein, one of the best known chefs in Miami.
Michelle Bernstein of Michy's in Miami Beach
"I think what's been most affected by the economy is the festive atmosphere of the restaurant," said Javier Gonzalez of Costa Brava, a Spanish restaurant in San Diego.
"Everyone is trying much harder to make sure the customers they do have are happy," said Wes Idol, owner of the Pacific Dining Car in Los Angeles.
"I've never seen the restaurant business so concerned about the stock market, " said Arthur Greenan of One Sixty Blue in Chicago.
The Boston Globe focused on those opening new places:
"We didn't have any choice. We had to open," said Todd English, who opened his latest restaurant, Lbertine, right in the heart of Wall Street in New York City at the apex of the bad news.
Todd English, famed chef and restaurateur
"A lot of these projects have been on the drawing board and owners can't get out of them," said Charlie Perkins, owner of the Boston Restaurant Group.
Charles Draghi, at Erbulance, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the Bay Village section of Boston perhaps summed it up best: "What I find happens whenever there is an economic shakeout, restaurants that aren't that good, where the food or service is mediocre, they tend to not do well and shakeout."
Listen to the customers and give them what they want.
Scale back on elaborate, more expensive dishes.
Stock and present less expensive wines. Most diners are cutting back on wine and drinks.
Be prepared for change.
Offer more prixe fixe dinners.
The Times article, entitled "Across The Country, Restaurants Feel The Pinch" reports that business is down about twenty percent over this time last year and that areas hit hardest by falling real estate values are bearing the worst brunt.
Although folks may be cutting back we still intend to bring you the very best in food, dining experiences and travel even if just for your vicarious living.