December 7, 2008

Going Out to Eat As Much? Hard Times Reportedly Hitting Local Restaurants

I recently heard from a source in Walnut Creek city government that the economic crisis is hurting downtown's restaurant scene. “People might still splurge on the special places, like Prima, Lark Creek, or Fleming’s for special occasions,” he said, “but maybe they’ll skip more moderately priced restaurants in favor of just staying home.”

Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle has a report called Hard Times Hitting Bay Area Restaurants:

Not since 9/11 have Bay Area restaurants, whether it be the fancy, white-tablecloth ones or the cozy neighborhood hangouts, seen such a lull in business. But this time, restaurant owners say, it's worse. Even in an area known for its obsession with food, some restaurants say revenue is down as much as 40 percent. Many restaurateurs are laying off workers; others reducing the days they are open. Then there are those who are just plain calling it quits.

The article mentions how Chronicle four-star restaurant Michael Mina, in San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel, has for the first time in its nearly five-year existence decided to close two days of the week: Sunday and Monday. Chef-owner Michael Mina told the Chronicle that sales fell 10 percent during September and October, tables aren't filling up like they once did, and diners are shying away from expensive wines.

In our neck of the woods, a “moderately priced restaurant,” such as the Left Bank Brasserie—which, in addition to its Pleasant Hill location, also has spots in San Jose, San Mateo, Menlo Park, and Larkspur, and was planning a move to Walnut Creek—has also been hit. Richard Miyashiro, president and CEO of the chain, said sales are down about 8 percent from 2007.

So what about you? Going out to each much? If so, where? But if you're doing it on a budget, got any good cheap eats recommendations?

If you work outside the home, are you bringing lunch from home more instead of running out at noon to buy that deli salad? I sure am.

How about grocery shopping? If you had a habit, as I did after some days at work, of indulging in prepared dinners, are you foregoing those from Whole Foods (if you ever did) in favor of those from Trader Joe’s? I have to confess, Whole Foods Mac & Cheese was always a favorite comfort food, but maybe, at the "Whole Paycheck" price, it's not so comforting anymore.


Anonymous said...

I confessed my husband and I were out Christmas shopping and splurged and went to Va de Vi at lunch time on Sunday. Hardly anyone was in there. I remember trying to go to Va de Vi for lunch on Sundays before and not being able to get in. And this is on a Sunday during holiday Christmas shopping.
But then the Apple store was packed.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could go out to that restaurant or any restaurant. Our big splurge is McDonald's these days.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be able to go to whole foods and have mac and cheese like this privilleged Soccer mom.

Anonymous said...

I miss Taxi's across from Kaiser hospital.

Anonymous said...

George's Burger in WC. A giant, delicious cheeseburger for less than $6!