Empty Bread Baskets and Naked Tables

Lets face it, the economy has been in the toilet bowl for too many years now. We are all starting to suffer. I have cut my sushi intake to only once a week, my gourmet cheese purchases have been getting supplemented with Kraft crap, and even the Fed Up Dog, Dozer, has had his food downgraded to the  generic-brand.

While I know the poor people in Africa suffer far more than most of us here in America, the tough-times here are still hurting  us pretty badly. Once you have tasted wine, it is hard to drink water.

Plastic silverware and paper napkins may become the norm even in the most luxurious of restaurants, if this economy does not pick up.

But fine… I can deal with less sushi, vacuum-sealed cheese, and generic-dog food (for Dozer,not for me); BUT what is starting to get scary is how the weak economy is influencing so many other areas of the food world that we are all so obsessed with.

I just heard a NPR broadcast that showed how gloomy things have gotten. The report outlined how to cut costs and try to survive through this recession, many restaurants are opting out of providing beautiful bread baskets to their guests. Restaurants, the chapels of cuisine, are even starting to avoid the use of table cloths and linen napkins to try keep expenses down. Apparently many of the new places that open up, are also choosing to be “casual” places, which easily allows them to keep their atmosphere cost-efficient and the decor to a minimum.

It has got to be getting bad, if we can’t cover our tables and allow them to go bare…what will the neighbors think? And bread baskets, were the ‘bread basket’ of many national restaurant chains. The only reason I ever went into an Olive Garden was for the bread. If they get rid of their “Unlimited Breadsticks” then they mine as well just give up. And what would Red Lobster be without its cheesy biscuits to lure our attention from their sub-par seafood?

It is getting to be a scary world. I just hope I can keep on avoiding McDonald’s “Dollar Menu,” and manage to scrap enough cash together at the end of each week to enjoy a few ounces of gourmet cheese…even if that means canceling the cable, and taking out a second mortgage.

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Categories: Rants

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out; www.FedUpFood.com

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19 Comments on “Empty Bread Baskets and Naked Tables”

  1. June 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    No bread? I rarely eat it at home, but there are places whose bread I crave and it’s what gets me through the door. Olive Garden I could easily pass, but those cheddar biscuits are the only item I’ve really enjoyed at Red Lobster in ages.

    • June 7, 2012 at 5:49 am #

      To be honest, I personally don’t fill up on the free bread anywhere (especially when someone else is picking up the check), but I know many MANY people who count on the stuff as part of their meal. Without the bread, they feel like one of the dinner’s courses is missing

      • June 7, 2012 at 8:16 am #

        Red Lobster biscuits are not a draw. They used to be good; but, around 15 years ago, they changed the recipe. They are no longer as moist and savory. I found this to be true at Red Lobster locations in different cities. So it had to have been a corporate change. Since those no longer taste so good and the clam chowder there is not very good, I don’t go there much at all.

      • June 7, 2012 at 8:35 am #

        It is really sort of sad…as a kid I used to remember how excited I would be to go to Red Lobster. We would drive an hour just to wait in line for a few hours more before we could actually get seated. But we loved it…but I have not been to a Red Lobster in a LONG time.

  2. June 7, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I haven’t been there in years (partly because of the mediocrity, mostly for lack of opportunity) but I find it hard to believe that Olive Garden would do much to their bread supply since they have “sold” their breadsticks on their commercials for so many years. Then again, I can’t remember it being focus of their ad campaign for a while either so maybe they are going in that direction. As for the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster, supposedly you can get those for home just by ordering them from Schwans home delivery.

    I was at Bonefish Grill a few months ago and I was a bit surprised at the table covering there. I don’t know what their reputation is supposed to be like, but they are one of the places that have forgone the table clothes in favor of a thick white paper cut perfectly to the size of the table. Of course it was so dark in there that you could barely read the menu so maybe they are just hoping people don’t notice the paper table covering in their effort to create some kind of ambiance.

    • June 7, 2012 at 5:59 am #

      Wow…and Bone Fish Grill is not a cheap place. I have not been to one in a while, but I am surprised that they have gone the paper route.

      I doubt that places like Olive Garden (who really depend on their bread) are going to remove it entirely…but I bet that any new places/chains are not going to be offering any freebies.

    • June 11, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Macaroni Grill puts paper on their tables as well, but you get crayons so you can draw while waiting for your food. Actually, I really like that

      • June 11, 2012 at 11:20 am #

        Ok…crayons are always a plus! Drawing on the table is much cooler than those stupid children-activity-books that some places used to give.

  3. June 7, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Paper napkins may save on a daily laundry bill. But I think there have been people who have compared the cost of dishwashing to the cost of buying plastic cutlery and found that in the long run, plastic forks and stuff just cost more. Some of the newer eateries have haave invested in beautiful tables instead of table linens that need frequent washings. This is probably what we will see in most newly opened buildings.

    • June 7, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Yes, I agree. A nice table does not need to be covered and is a good investment. I am actually in the search for a home table and I plan on avoiding the use of table cloths at all costs. I just rather wipe the table clean once done with dinner.

      • June 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

        A few years ago my parents bought a really nice table, and then almost immediately covered it with a table cloth because they wanted to protect the table. It took me probably 3 years or more to convince them to have a piece of glass cut to fit their dining room table and then you could actually see the nice table they paid a lot of money for. Once they finally got the glass, she wished she had gotten it right from the beginning since it was so much nicer looking than having the table cloth all the time.

      • June 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

        that is funny. It reminds me of people who protect their furniture with those plastic covers…or having an entire ‘formal living room,’ that has the most expensive furniture but is rarely used.

  4. June 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Oh I do hope that our restaurants keep the quality up. After all, that’s why we go out, isn’t it? To have that upscale experience?

    Chain service restaurants leave me cold. Really Olive Garden? You call THAT Tuscan?

    • June 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      Olive Garden is as Italian as Taco Bell is Mexican, haha.

      But yes…few chains can provide a service and an experience that can match that of a good mon-n-pop place

  5. June 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    It’s plain silly for a restaurant not to have a nibble on the table, considering it’s possible to charge for it at a handsome markup. Consider it the restaurant version of “do you want fries with that?” The cost of flour, yeast, salt and water are utterly marginal. Add a clove of garlic and you’ve got something approaching special. And as a customer – you touch it, you pay. So what? In any restaurant I find it nice if I can already start to nibble on something while I’m waiting for the real food.

    Oh and about those naked tables… Some of the best food I’ve eaten in my life was in places with bare tables and the only cutlery was chopsticks. The place didn’t look like much but man could the owner ever cook up a delicious meal. Eaten there dozens of times until I moved abroad. If I’m ever on the other side of the planet again it’ll be the first place I’ll get back to.

    • June 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      I agree, the quality of food is not represented by a restaurants use of table cloths or not. And I PERFER cheap wooden (disposable) chopsticks when getting Asian foods. I hate the fancy chopsticks that are made from plastics and are MUCH harder to pick up food with.

      I don’t think it is limited to pre-meal ‘nibbles’ that are going extinct…I haven’t been offered a post-meal breath mint in a long LONG time (and my breath is definitely not that good).

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