Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fine Dining: A Dying Breed?

Could the restaurant be in for a major change as a result of economic depression? Recent reports and articles have been written all over the globe concerning restaurant closings, re-openings, and the changing face of the industry. Some have suggested that this era of popular fine dining industry is coming to a close. Many fine dining restaurants have closed their doors to open more casual concepts, still featuring great food but at more affordable prices.
People still want to eat, but have come to the realization that great food can come at more affordable prices. The biggest problem with fine dining today is the high menu cost, large staff, expensive products leading to high food and labor costs reducing profits enormously in the struggling economy. High-end restaurants are still seeing business, but not the regular customers that keep coming back, which in the long run keeps a restaurant in business a little bit longer. Restauranteurs are now looking for a profit-driven -- still focusing on food -- way to keep their restaurants alive and booming. People still want to go out and eat, they just don't want the elaborate three hour meals at extraordinary prices when they can get a meal for the same price as chain restaurants, but with better quality.

As the public has come to realize what really goes on in food production, with books like Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and recent movies such as Food, Inc, the general public is willing to pay more for food that is rightfully grown, but that doesn't mean you have to spend an arm and leg for it. With companies like Chipotle Mexican Grill, who's motto is "Food with Integrity," offering fast casual prices and speedy service, for the busy American workplace, people are starting to realize that good food doesn't have to be expensive.

I am not suggesting that fine dining will be completely dead. There will always be a time and a place for fine dining in America, but recently their have been an enormous amount of fine dining restaurants opening, and now closing. There have been estimations, that even though many restaurants are closing, just as many are opening in a more casual sector. Near future projections, have suggested that the restaurant hasn't taken the hardest hit yet but will in coming months, making restaurateurs even more concerned with making a profit and generating loyal customers. Cutting labor costs and addressing food costs along a lower and tighter line will also be a trend for those who work in the industry. Could the rebirth of the American economy also mean a rebirth of the restaurant industry?

What are your predictions for the future of the restaurant industry?

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