Restaurateur Danny Meyer sat down with the Wall Street Journal to talk about the future of the restaurant industry. A number of Meyer’s competitors have gone out of business this year because of the recession, and while the USHG boss has been asked about cost-cutting maneuvers before, here Meyer specifically addresses the future of high-end dining in New York:
“I don’t think there’s going to be sustainable demand for restaurants that force you to spend hours there. Long tasting menus will continue to be elected by some but cannot be legislated by the restaurant. We’re going to have more bistros and trattorias. People will have luxury items—caviar, foie gras, truffles—less frequently, having done without them for a year and a half, but they will come to appreciate them more because it won’t be at every bar and grill in the city.”
Elsewhere, Meyer told the WSJ that “there is an enormous amount of discounting going on,” on restaurant menus all around town, partly because of a recent 10% drop in the cost of provisions. Meyer said the extreme price cutting amounts to survival tactic but is not really a “sustainable business model,” explaining that restaurants will ultimately have to drop their overall number of seats to correspond more realistically the number of dinner guests, instead of attempting to fill dining rooms with over-the-top promotional deals that aren't providing real value. “This has to happen,” Meyer said. “There will come a point when there are the right number of seats.”
So, does this also mean more Shake Shacks? Looks like the answer is 'yes' in Central Park this summer!