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Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Alt Foodie Trend No. 5: Profit Margins Crashed

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Now till Dec. 31, SFoodie is counting down the city's top alternative food and restaurant trends of 2009 ― the ones you won't be reading about in the Chron.

See also: No. 6: Beer Busted Out; No. 7: Twitter Ruled; No. 8: Sportin' Wood; No. 9: Street-Food Busts; No. 10: Porn Star Chefs

A 45o5 Meats 'Zilla Dog at the Thursday Ferry Plaza street-food  market. - J. BIRDSALL
  • J. Birdsall
  • A 45o5 Meats 'Zilla Dog at the Thursday Ferry Plaza street-food market.
S.F. Alt Foodie Trend No. 5: Price Busters

Wonder why so many restaurant opened during last year's Great Recession? Simple ― profit margins plummeted. Meaning some restaurant owners opened with barely break-even menu process, in hopes they'll be able to hang on till Barack Obama's stimulus and jobs measures make it rain. Fine dining? With few exceptions, you had to open out of town for that. Instead, it was a year of happy hours, BOGOs, lunch deals, and under-$50 prix fixe specials, not to mention dogs, burgers, and porchetta sandwiches. Maybe the morphing of Lark Creek Inn into the Tavern at Lark Creek Inn illustrated it best: The venerable Larkspur restaurant became emblematic of the new casual, where no entrée crested above $14.95, and inexpensive proteins ruled. The $25 nightly three-course supper at Il Cane Rosso skimped on table service and, well, an actual dining room, rather than on ingredient quality. And only the strong ― or the well established ― had a chance of sticking out the year.

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