Monday, April 28, 2008

The Temporary Demise of Dining Out

For the average bloke and his family (or date), dining out is getting more expensive every day. Even lunch is getting too expensive.

Unless you get a hot dog and soda or order off the "dollar" menu, eating lunch for under five dollars is a thing of the past. A sit-down lunch is going to put you back at least ten dollars. Do that five time a week and you spent fifty bucks for lunch.

Going out to dinner with your spouse (or girlfriend) is $25-50. Add children and it gets real steep for the average American family.

What's driving this? I see three areas:

1) The increase in the minimum wage. Wages for many restaurants have gone up 10-20 percent.

2) Costs of supplies. Everything has gone up, from rice and beans to beef and chicken.

3) Decreasing disposable income. One of the first things people cut back on during economic downturns is external entertainment. Movies, restaurants, ball games, etc. all take a hit.

It all comes down to the cost of energy and the idiot concept of turning food-producing land into bio-fuel producing land.

The restaurant/food service industry is America's third largest employer (13.1 million employees), behind the U.S. government and the health care industry.

Food prices are causing misery and strife around the world. The pain is severe in most third world nations and starting to cause pain in the more affluent nations. It will get worse before it gets better.

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