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.
Fine dining definitely ebbs and flows. As someone in their mid-20’s, I hold the food I eat in high regard already. Sure, I’ll go to a greasy spoon on the weekends for breakfast, but going out during the week? I’m looking for a great meal with locally sourced, healthy ingredients.
I dont see a resurgence in domed covered plates and waiters in tuxedos on coke. Maybe a new version f fine dining will emerge but it wont look old and tired. Personally, give me great food in a comfortable atmosphere and a server who doesnt suck and Im a happy guy.
Food Dude says
I don’t think she is talking that upscale; more Ten01 or Paley’s Place, maybe even a good version of Lucier.
Perhaps this is one of the few benefits of the complete oversaturation of food related media. It brings an awareness to fine food and drink. The younger generation have grown up with chef celebrity. Everyone knows who Gordon Ramsey is now. My 85 year old parents love Bourdain.