We Go There For The… Blankets?
Image Source: Bon Appetit
In 2000, Americans went out to eat an average of 216 times per year. Over the past two decades (that’s right, it’s almost 2020) that number has dropped to 185. People are now cooking about 84% of their meals at home – restaurant dining is declining. Why? Eating out is becoming more and more expensive — the price of a meal for two at your neighborhood spot is creeping up to keep up with rising labor and rent costs. Rent costs have an effect not only on the restaurants, but on their diners, too! We pay a lot of money to live in our apartments each month. I, for one, want to get the most bang for my buck by spending time in that apartment. It’s cozy and it has HBO.
Millennials, the generation that created “Netflix and Chill,” are apparently quite attached to their couches. What’s a restaurant to do? Well, make the restaurant feel more like your living room at home for one. Enter: the restaurant blanket. Several years ago, when I was in Norway in the summer, I noticed how every restaurant with outdoor seating also provided blankets and sometimes even sheepskins. They were much needed with that North Sea breeze, especially once the sun started to set. Imagine my surprise when restaurants back in the States started providing blankets for their guests, indoor or out, all year long. It’s not just about being cold (although restaurants always seem to set their thermostats on the chilly side), it is about creating a more comforting and welcoming environment by tossing blankets on the backs of chairs — almost as if they were big comfy couches.
Will this homey trend turn into profits? I know I’ll be more likely to dine out if there is the prospect of being snug as a bug while enjoying a meal that took no effort on my part to prepare!
Posted by Catherine