Via one of Michael Blowhard’s always-worthwhile round-up posts, here’s a Christian Science Monitor piece that makes a point I’ve noticed myself: the cost of eating out is on par with, if not lower than, the cost of buying and preparing your own food.
This assumes you shop at the higher end of the supermarket food chain — and also assumes the time you spend preparing meals has a dollar value. If your definition of home cooking is to prise open a #10 can of franks-n-beans and dump some in a saucepan, the argument falls apart ;-)
Otherwise, as says one Mark Bergen, “pricing specialist,” Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota: “Simply put, restaurants are more efficient than you are.”
Some nice data about the resturant biz in the article too, though. Their profit margins are under 5 percent. And “most turn over more than their entire staff each year, a rate that has contributed to a decline in service over the past 10 years, experts say.” Yeah, that does explain a lot.
And of course, some requisite hand-wringing about portion size and how that’s making us fat. As if the doggy bag had never been invented. After golfing with my parents last weekend, we stopped at the Doug’s Fish Fry in Cortland. They were offering a fried oyster special. I ate half of mine and had the other half for lunch yesterday. Mmmmmm. (Heat them up under the broiler, a minute or so a side, just until the breading starts to sizzle, crisps them back up without overcooking the oyster.) (A trick I’ve perfected by reheating the ubuiquitous “chicken fingers” that my daughter often orders when we eat out.)
I’m not advocating a steady diet of deep-fried breaded whatever, of course, but in moderation? And they were oysters!
[tags] restaurants, dining out [/tags]