Ruth Reichl was the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s and ’90s, then restaurant critic for the New York Times, editor of Gourmet magazine and author of a series of best-selling food memoirs.
In an article in the LA Times, she pointed out the importance of the 20-30’s demographic to restaurant dining, and how they will shape the future of the restaurant industry.
“the people who really spend a lot of money in restaurants now are the 20-30somethings and they really think of restaurants as an important part of their lives. They have no money but eat out all the time. It’s a whole new clientele that has never been part of the American restaurant scene before.
“I predict this group of people is going to suddenly want that experience. They’re spending a lot of money eating out already and they care about food and are knowledgeable about food. And pretty soon they’re going to start wanting that other piece of the restaurant experience, which is the thrill of grand dining, the privilege of being taken care of.”
Ruth goes on to predict the comeback of the formal dining experience. I think she is spot on in her prediction. The pendulum swings both ways. As the ‘young’ and hip climb the corporate ladder and make a larger income, they are going to look for restaurants that offer a different experience from their 20’s.