One of the unintended consequences of the Golden Age of Restaurants was unreasonable customer expectations for virtually every eating experience....
"It's self-flagellating chef martyrdom at its best," says [chef James Cullen ]. "Chefs all want to make their own charcuterie and bake their own breads. And if you're wildly talented and you're making exceptional stuff, great. But most chefs know in their heart they can buy it from a local butcher or baker and it'll be at least just as good, but they're too proud. And so you've got these kitchens putting in just as much labor as fine-dining spots, but not charging nearly enough to make it worth their while."
Those elevated expectations now even extend to delivery. And the rising food delivery apps promising local, higher-quality foods at cheap prices (Munchery, Blue Apron, UberEATS, DoorDash, Postmates, etc.) are starting to seriously position themselves as, at best, major nuisances and, at worst, that annoying word everyone in the tech industry throws around: disrupters.
"I think they're the ones pricing out fine-casual dining restaurants," says Anjan Mitra, owner of the DOSA restaurants in SF. "These apps are all backed by hundreds of millions from the VCs (venture capitalists) -- so it doesn't even matter that they're all losing money. They can afford to pay chefs and line cooks and prep cooks more than any restaurant, and though many of them work with restaurants now, the bigger, ambitious ones are figuring out ways to completely cut restaurants out of the picture. And if that happens to take 10% of the revenue from a local sit-down restaurant, that's a massive hit. That could be the difference between staying open or shutting down."
January 5, 2017
I got a lot out of this article by Kevin Alexander in Thrillist. It's long, but there's lots of analysis — cultural and economic. Nice illustration too. I'll just give you an excerpt: