Friday, June 13, 2008
Cheap Hang Ups
According to several recent reports, the abysmal economy, increases in the cost of doing business, and rising food prices are starting to make their impact felt on the restaurant industry and consumer spending on food. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, chefs at premier dining establishments are finding it difficult to strike a balance between quality and cost. Signaling the fluidity of food costs, Chef David Chang has just raised the price of a prix fixe dinner at his coveted Momofuku Ko from $85 to $100. And, the New York Times brings news of a boom in vegetable gardening by Americans trying to save money on groceries.
Into this changing food environment comes news of the latest in food marketing ploys to targeting current economic conditions: enter the "hanging brochette." According to a recent press release, the restaurant Brasserie Julien is promoting this new menu item as a dining option designed specifically for the budget-minded customer.
"I decided to change the presentation of a classic dish. Our guests enjoy the different presentation, and they also get to enjoy meat that they might shy away from these days because of their budget. We are using smaller, more cost-effective pieces, but the same total weight, so it's a win-win. Normally a server pulls your meat off of the skewers or even presents them on the skewer flat on the plate. This way, you take one morsel off at a time without spearing yourself," Philippe Feret, Chef/Owner of Brasserie Julien recently said.
In any event, it looks like this all means if you can't afford an entire entree of lamb, filet mignon, fish, or game -- then order these "smaller, more cost-effective pieces" dangling on a skewer at your table like a wee little mini-meat hook.
One might ask if this PR stunt represents the first in a new wave of "recession specials"?
Guess we'll all have to stayed tuned.