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Jul 12, 2008 05:53 PM

Missing spoons and other cost saving abominations

What cost-saving trends have you noticed at restaurants during the beginning of this recession?

I'm a Floridian and for the last year I have been observing an aggravating trend. It started in chain restaurants and is now moving out into the independents. They aren't giving their customers spoons anymore! The first few times it happened, I thought it was an oversight, especially when when I ordered coffee later in the meal and was left with no way to stir in the sugar I added.

But it is no oversight. It often happens to me in restaurants where they roll the silverware into a napkin or paper napkin. You don't notice it until later in the meal when you need to spoon some sauce over a meat entre, etc.

The last recession, the restaurants did away with providing you with a glass of water at meals, unless you specifically asked for it. Spoons seem to be the next trend. What else?

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  1. also noticed this in Florida recently. Just a knife and fork wrapped in the napkin. And one deli - recently closed, used to wrap the knife and fork in a paper bag!

    1. No more tablecloths!
      That's the new big time fancy trend.
      The twist here is turning the lack off < you fill in the blank > into a fancy thing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RicRios

        Or into a "green" thing or 'health" thing.

      2. in most places where water is not served it is because of (often mandatory) water use restrictions due to drought.

        1. I hadn't been to Union Square Cafe, in New York, for about 10 months. Surprise, surprise--no bread basket on my recent trip. One piece of toasted bread each was brought out. They offered us more when we finished that, and I was glad enough to have a check in place for my bread eating, but the change really screams "Money saver!" to me. Also, the traditional dish of olives was smaller than in the past.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Angela Roberta

            Sounds more like they were tired of throwing away uneaten bread -- a waste of food and money -- rather than skimping. Especially since they were willing to give you as much as you wanted. Friends that work in restaurants tell me this really gets to you after awhile, seeing all the food that is wasted. Automatically bringing a basket of bread to every table guarantees that alot will be thrown away.

            1. re: purple bot

              I agree. I think it's great that USQ is opting to do that. Less wasting food. It would be great if more restaurants would do it. It will also probably translate to lower prices (or prices not being raised as much) as there's less waste of bread involved. It's about seeing the larger picture.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                I agree. I'd much rather not see the waste, or the tempting bread basket - seems better to me to ask for bread if I really want it, rather than nibble on it for no reason while waiting for my food to arrive.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  I also agree, i just think the waitstaff should make it clear to you that they offer complimentary bread should you want it.

            2. I took my daughter for a curry last week at a newish Indian here in south Fl. Last time we were there we were given a big plate of samosas and pakoras on the house. This time - nothing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smartie

                The gratis apps may have had to do with the place being new - often new places will offer such freebies at the beginning as a way of showing their good will and winning business, but if they continued to give away big plates of appetizers, it wouldn't do much for their continuing in business. Samosas and pakoras are not giveaway food, in my experience.