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Feb 18, 2009 11:51 PM

Consumers cut food spending sharply - WSJ

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    1. I read that. Milk, vegetables up, sweets, alcohol down...could be a healthy trend! I was disturbed by the 5% reduction in dog food, though.

      5 Replies
        1. re: danna

          The restaurant scene in the East Bay has already begun changing, drastically. Many places are now featuring Prix Fixe menus or changed their menus to try to lure more customers with value rather than rely on just good cuisine and service.

          A number of places have already closed and there will be many more, unfortunately, before the economy will improve. I just hope that none of our favorites fall victim.


          1. re: jamesq

            Jim, what you wrote is equally true for New York. Manhattan is suffering at all levels. In many, MANY places, "Restaurant Week" menus have been extended for the rest of the year.

            The places doing the best are the small neighborhood places where lots of folks eat at least weekly, and take out from regularly. I predict by year's end the restaurant scene will have shrunk considerably. Sadly.

            1. re: ChefJune


              Unfortunately, I have to agree with you and it will be a shame because there will be many good ones that go down along with the less good ones.

              Restaurants are a terribly risky business and so many fail even in good times. We are entering some of the worst possible conditions for dining establishments.


              1. re: ChefJune

                Especially now with the weather improving, our long walks around Manhattan have become like walking tours among vacant restaurant spaces. We were commenting on this just last night. It's a little bit frightening, seeing so many establishments, especially the old timers, just pick up and disappear. I am conflicted between staying home and saving $ and eating out to save my favorite spots! One personal consequence that I have noticed regarding my food spending is that I've visited a lot fewer new (or new to me) restaurants over the past year or so. If a place is new and inexpensive, I am more likely to try it. If a place is new and upscale, I will wait much longer to go, and probably wait for an occasion.
                I've gradually changed my grocery spending habits over the past year, as well. There was a pretty lively thread on this topic not too long ago...

          2. Friday night, the three of us had rack of lamb (from Costco), a pilaf of whole grains and broccoli with garlic and olive oil. My husband estimated that the total cost of the meal was about $22 for food alone. We figure that at a local restaurant that meal would have cost more than $100!

            2 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              We've noticed the same thing, and have done some shopping from Costco ourselves. I have to say - I've been really impressed by the quality of the fresh fish at our local Costco!

              Milk prices alone drive me nuts (with a toddler and a milk guzzling husband in the house) we go through it too quickly. What bothers me so much is that "fresh" local ingredients, which are so much better for you to eat - cost so much more than the "unhealthier" choices you could find at places like Food 4 Less... no wonder the American waistline is having such problems. I'd like to think that the purer the ingredients the less expensive it should be - shouldn't chemical additives cost more??

              In our house we have been actually planning weekly menus around store shopping flyers - which forces me to shop once a week instead of every other day (the way my husband likes to shop). His way causes us to spend too much on groceries - and that doesn't even include money spent dining out.

              1. re: hbpthomas

                >>milk guzzling husband<<

                >> every other day (the way my husband likes to shop). His way causes us to spend too much<<

                Perhaps it's time for a new husband? /joking

                My girlfriend and I were in San Francisco the other weekend and we both noticed the city streets were just a little less packed than normal, and a lot of small restaurants had closed up shop.

                It seemed, I dunno, sad.