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BarnacleBill's avatar

How's eating out faring in your community?

Asked by BarnacleBill (16073points) March 12th, 2011

Three times in the last two weeks I attempted to take someone somewhere nice for dinner for a special celebration. I’m defining “nice” as dinner for two costing $60 without drinks. We tried multiple restaurants, and found them to be packed, even in the middle of the week. By nice, I’m talking Morton’s, Eddie Merlot’s, Bonefish, Delfrisco’s, Melting Pot, etc. Not Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill (although I like those) and the local, non-chain 3.5 – 4.0 star white tablecloth restaurants.

Who’s eating out at these kinds of places? In the middle of the week eating out at these kinds of places? Is the economy better off than we think for some people?

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13 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Since our children are grown and gone, my wife and I eat out just about every night. It’s just as cheap(at most places)to eat out than to go to the store and prepare the meals at home.

Is the economy better off than we think?

Not really. Next time you go out to eat, check out the ages of the people in the restaurant. Older citizens generally do not have any debts to pay and their house is paid for, so they go out to eat.

Wife and I look forward to this each day.

faye's avatar

I can’t believe it’s just as cheap. I’ve been a broke housewife and know quite a bit about 10 dollar meals for 4. And it sure ain’t me eating out midweek nor weekend, though I’d be happy to.

YARNLADY's avatar

What we are finding is that two out of three of the nicer restaurants we find on the blackberry are out of business. We had our birthday party at Fat City in San Diego, and the 9 in our party were in a nearly empty restaurant on Thursday night. There were only two other tables all night. Even at Tony Roma on a Friday night, we had no trouble fitting our large group in right away.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I would say that really depends upon the area. In the small town I live in, people do not seem to eat out too much. We only eat out about once a month so I am not sure it is an accurate gauge, but the restaurants in out town are usually almost empty. However, if we venture further north toward the large cities, there are always plenty of people eating out regardless of the day of the week. I gauge this by the amount of cars in the restaurant parking lots as they seem to be near capacity.

When talking about the economy in general, things I would consider frivolous or extras other people think are necessities i.e. cell phones, cable, eating out, new items (versus using thrift stores, etc.), and, yes, even the internet (I will admit it would be the last thing to go) Even with all these things though, I think it really depends upon where you live as we do not live in an affluent community.

12Oaks's avatar

I couldn’t imagine ever paying that much for food at a restaurant, so I personally never go to those kinds of places. However, the places like that around here seem to do the same business that they been doing recently. In most of the 2000s, those places were packed every night. By the end, the parking lots are about ¼ filled and a couple shut their doors for the last time in 2010. Now, the remaining parking lots are starting to fill up better, but you don’t need reservations a week or two in advance like you did during their better years and could walk in and get a table right away.

Cruiser's avatar

I think it has a lot to do with so many other up scale restaurants that didn’t survive the last recession. My town has seen at least 25% of the better restaurants close their doors over the last 2 years. So the survivors are benefiting from less competition.

aprilsimnel's avatar

A few of the well-known places are closed, like Bouley Bakery, but given that NYC is what it is, there are plenty of high-class restaurants where it’s hard to get a reservation and are still packing them in nightly.

jca's avatar

Eaten out? Well that’s a very personal question but to answer it, I have not been eaten out in a while.

Oh, not eaten out? Eating out? I live in an affluent county, so the restaurants are always busy. Some like the Cheesecake Factory are guaranteed packed most nights. For the next two weeks it’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, and there are about 100 restaurants with price fixe menus for lunch and dinner. $20 for lunch and $28 for dinner. That’s a bargain in my neck of the woods.

ratboy's avatar

Man, it’s the shits…. Sorry I read “faring” as “farting.”

BarnacleBill's avatar

I’m glad they’re doing so well, because the college kids in our area need jobs. I tend to eat out a lot because it’s just me, and leaving work at 8:30, it’s easier to get Chinese, or Indian, or Mexican, than it is to come home and cook. I find I have a lot of waste if I shop so I can cook, but am too tired to do so. I usually get dinner plus lunch the next day out of an entree, so $15 for dinner is not so bad.

Most of the people eating out were 40+, my age or a little younger. I can’t afford to eat like that very often. And I rarely drink alcohol when I’m out; that’s a sure way to burn through money.

filmfann's avatar

Okay, looks like all the easy jokes have been taken…

My wife and I would go out to eat every Friday, but since buying the new place, we try to do that every other week. Usually this involves Chili’s or Coco’s, and occasionally the higher end ones.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When times are tough and people are pinched in other areas, they’ll usually reward themselves with food. I think giving up good food is the last ditch and when you feel really “poor”. It makes people feel less scared if they can have treats.

ucme's avatar

Is this a request for a swingers party? I hope so…... think not! :¬)

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