If you are a restaurateur, you’re justifiably worried. If you own a discount natural foods supermarket with wide aisles, you’re pretty optimistic at a new study by NPD, a market research firm. If you’re a Baby Boomer, get ready to be blamed yet again. Supper is the restaurant industry’s largest sales generator but the meal has been the weakest performing meal period for the past decade and is still declining. According to the study, multiple factors have contributed to the decline in supper visits, the foremost being the recession and an aging U.S. population. The sheer number of aging Boomers has increased the importance of more mature adults to the supper occasion. Even before the current economic situation, consumers were shifting how they addressed their needs to feed themselves and their families at supper. They’ve started to cook more at home.
– The Wall Street Journal recently did a Q&A with chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley: “I’m put off by chains, and even by people who have more than one restaurant. I know how hard it is to take care of one. You have to divide your time or ask someone else to really act as an owner. But very often that person doesn’t take responsibility the way the owner does.”
– In its third annual published dining survey, Opinionated About Dining has named the 30 Most Important
Restaurants in the U.S., although it may well be the least important organization rating restaurants today. Topping their list of extremely expensive eateries is The French Laundry, Yountville, CA, followed by Per Se, New York – both owned by chef Thomas Keller; Masa, New York; Manresa, Los Gatos, CA; Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills; Mini-Bar, Washington,DC; Urasawa, Beverly Hills, Ca; Jean Georges, New York; Alinea, Chicago, Il; Corton, New York, NY; Others in the Top 30 include Momofuku Ko, New York; L’ Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York; and McCrady’s, Charleston, SC.