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Restaurant business picking back up?
Old 08-10-2009, 02:10 AM   #1
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Restaurant business picking back up?

One of the first things I remember personally noticing (vs. being told about on the news) about the current recession was how empty the restaurants were. Tables at even the busiest restaurants were easy to get the last year or so.

Suddenly, all those restaurants are all full again - lines out the door in some cases, even mid-week. Not sure if things are actually recovering, or if everyone's confidence is just recovering (just as good, I guess).

Anyone else noticing this, or is it just me (in a major coastal city in CA)?
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:31 AM   #2
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Those are just newly flush car salesman thanks to the CARS program, a temporary phenomena.

Seriously, that's interesting, must be a regional thing. I'm near Chicago and it's been just the opposite near me. Last Fall/Winter there did not seem to be any decline in restaurant traffic which baffled me. This summer it is now easier to get into the same restaurants but they still seem to be doing good business. I know someone who owns a popular restaurant and relies on summer and his business is OK but not as strong as years past.

I always interpreted what I saw as people were in denial last Fall/Winter, still not believing they couldn't spend freely - but they held off on big ticket items and not the smaller indulgences. Now more have come to the realization that the party (as we knew it) is over and they are making better spending/budgeting decisions. But only my guess...
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:28 AM   #3
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I never noticed any decline in business at our local restaurants here. The busy ones remained busy or got busier, and the others held their own. We had some that have expanded or built brand new buildings, as well as some new ones open up and make a go of it!

Only 2 restaurants closed...one because the owners were are IDIOTS...each was dipping into the till to support their need for booze, dope, strippers, and gambling, then couldn't afford to pay their food suppliers....or the IRS. They've become the unhappy, dissatisfied customers at the IRS's table. Another fellow bought all of their kitchen equipment, and opened a new restaurant across town with a nearly identical menu, and he's thriving!

And someone must have ordered their steak EXTRA well-done at the other restaurant, because it burned to the ground right near the end of the dinner rush one evening...OOPS!!! It was a VERY popular, well established business, that had been a thriving business for about 60 years. And, sadly, the owners have decided to retire and not rebuild it.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
....

I'm near Chicago and it's been just the opposite near me. Last Fall/Winter there did not seem to be any decline in restaurant traffic which baffled me. This summer it is now easier to get into the same restaurants but they still seem to be doing good business. I know someone who owns a popular restaurant and relies on summer and his business is OK but not as strong as years past.

...
Chicago! Don't the rich and upper middles "summer" elsewhere, leaving the city semi-deserted Memorial Day thru Labor Day? In cooler places. The family spends the summer at their "summer cottage" and hubby comes out of weekends? I grew up in a resort town 70 miles from Chicago; once met a guy who repeated the name of my hometown and said, oh, yeah, that's a resort town for us (people from ChicagoLand). During the roaring '20s when grandpa's PF was taking off, he bought a car and cottage and did exactly as I describe, but went out about 90 miles from the city where lake houses were less expensive.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:00 PM   #5
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New Orleanians often vacation in August. There is less traffic going to and from work, and restaurants do seem a little less crowded.

Something shocking happened at the restaurant we went to for lunch on Saturday. The lunch sized portion of our favorite dish went down from $9.99 to $7.99 . (The dinner sized portion is still $12.99). I don't know why the lunch sized portion is now so much cheaper! We ordered it and it looked about the same size as always to me. When do things ever get cheaper instead of more expensive? Wow.

I don't know if that is just a lower summer price, or if it is related to the economy, or what.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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I don't know if that is just a lower summer price, or if it is related to the economy, or what.
It was just the opposite in the tourist area where I grew up, some restaurants had two menus, a higher-priced one for summer. I had a friend who would remind the waitress she is local by asking for "winter rates."
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