Another great article in today’s Business section of The New York Times pertaining to food. Folks, please follow my advice on this. Most of the stories on food that appear outside of the Business section fail to include the essence of this subject: It’s a huge money making industry, the largest source of employment especially among unskilled and unschooled folks, and generates massive amounts of revenue just behind the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. So if you want to know what’s going on, what the “trends’ are, why chefs do what they do, and what’s available to ordinary consumers, read the Business section.
Here’s the latest: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/business/as-eating-patterns-shift-restaurant-chains-aim-at-younger-generation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
The article notes that people between the ages of 18 and 30 aren’t eating out in numbers great enough to satisfy the demands of the people who drew up business plans based on their anticipated money. Here are a few sentences from this piece: “Restaurant visits among millennials have fallen 16 percent over the last four years, according to research by the NPD Group, a consumer marketing firm, and have failed to pick up as the economy has improved. ‘The outlook for the restaurant industry over the next 10 years is dismal,’ said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at NPD.”
So what are restaurants doing to get people in?
They are relying upon the aggressive marketing of meaningless terms to describe their food in ways that they hope will appeal to the politics and conscience of this generation. Whether it’s GMO labeling, “humanely” raised beef, “sustainability,” or “natural” food, it all boils down to the use of terms that have no basis in science, taste, flavor, or gastronomy.
The article cites Chipotle as a prime example of goofiness that succeeds through its marketing in getting more 18-30 year olds in than their competitors: “It is true that restaurant chains like Chipotle, which has a devotion to explaining the origins of its ingredients that brings to mind the “Portlandia” sketch about a chicken dinner…”
Yoo hoo, Fred Armisen!