Not to harp on the doggie bag thing but restaurants are under fire as luxuries easily dispensed with.
CNN.Com’s “Quick Vote” right now asks the question: “What would you give up first to save money?”
And the choices are: car, cable service, dining out, cell phone and nothing.
Well, of course if you ask it like that, people are going to say they’ll give up dining out (as I write this, that’s what 70 percent of the respondents said).
But it’s not like a person must choose between dining out and not. There are lots of ways to dine out, lots of ways to economize in restaurants, lots of ways to slip out for a bite without blowing your budget, and restaurants are responding to customers’ needs for that in all sorts of ways. There are new prix-fixe menus (or combo deals, depending on the the fanciness of the restaurant or lack thereof), happy hour specials, cut-rate appetizers and entrées. It’s not like it‘s an either/or proposition.
I mentioned recently our upcoming April 20 report on restaurateurs reworking operations and pricing to fit customers’ current demands.
But there are signs that things aren’t all that bad in the restaurant world — at least not in the grand scheme of things. My colleague, NRN executive financial editor Sara Lockyer reports today on one analyst’s expectations for relative stability in the restaurant sector, because they fulfill the basic needs of eating and socializing.
Sara has more to say on the matter, too, which of course you would know if you’d just click on the link.