Have you eaten out lately in one of your old, famous, long-time customer restaurants? Have you noticed anything different or new? As in the food just doesn’t taste the same? The quality doesn’t seem to be there either? And the wait staff just isn’t doing it for you anymore? If you can get through their nasty attitudes.
I’ve stopped eating out in my favorite restaurants about a year ago. Mainly because of the prices. I could no longer afford the extravagant bills for the ever-shrinking quantity. Second, the quality of the food deteriorated. Lastly, the service was horrible, sporadic and just plain nasty.
Apparently, I am not alone. There has been a downward trend in the restaurant world as more and more people have come to the same conclusions I have: it’s better to make your own meals and eat at home. This CNBC report outlines the conclusions here, in this article.
Despite aggressive promotions (such as coupons), stagnant sales at sit-down restaurants continue to sap overall industry growth. Restaurant visits have been flat this year. “It was said the recession was officially over in 2009, but consumers aren’t behaving that way,” said NPD restaurant analyst Bonnie Riggs, adding that people are practicing caution and control in their spending.
While waiting for her order at a Manhattan McDonald’s, Caraway said higher meal costs drove her to cut her restaurant visits in half beginning in 2012. “I’d rather just cook at home,” the Brooklynite said. “They’ve gotten more expensive and the quality’s gotten worse.“
I’ve been baking my own pizzas every Friday night since 1998. I don’t think I could ever eat a commercial restaurant pizza now. My home made, from scratch pizza (including the dough) are just far more superior, healthier and cheaper. Period. Going out to a diner for breakfast can set us back by $30. Really. Thirty dollars could buy me a months’ worth of Sunday breakfasts of fresh squeezed OJ, two eggs any style, bacon, whole wheat toast and two pancakes with organic maple syrup. Do the math!
The last three times DH and I ate out at our once favorite restaurants, we were disappointed at each and every serving. With $70 to $102 price tags to boot! Three times was the charm. Now, if we are famished while out on the road, we pull into the tried-and-true, will-never-fail-you McDonald’s. We order a grilled chicken wrap ($3.99 + tax, with dressing on the side) and have a Senior Discount cup of Paul Newman’s Own organic coffee (.75 + tax) Other than that, we eat at home, brown bag a lunch, take a snack, pack a granola bar and a bottle (refilled at home) of water. We never leave home without our own food anymore.
Full-service casual dining and midscale or family dining spots have continued to struggle this year. The sectors’ names include Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, IHOP and Applebee’s, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, and Chili’s.
The quality, in the above named restaurants, have, in my opinion, declined. You won’t find me eating anything in those places. DH and I always used to eat out in local, neighborhood joints. But even those can’t keep up with the declining economy. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Noodles & Co. have seen an 8% increase in sales but if you can’t prepare your own taco, chili or worse yet, boil up a twenty five cent package of ramen noodles on your own, you don’t know what serious dining out is all about in the first place.
Here’s just a synopsis of the many varied meals DH and I prepare throughout the year: