went to a casual dining chain a few days ago and can't but help make the following observation:*the check was $65 for a family of 4. $65! And that blasted tip was....well...absurd. If you want to be poor, eat out. I mean, I'm all for enjoying oneself for dining but this has to be at least 3x to 4x what it costs to make it at home and it wasn't as good. And that blasted tip....this is getting absurd. Surely this is going up far faster than inflation? I can get a big something at Moe's for $6 and have some left over for the next day. It ought to not be this expensive for substandard food.*the food stunk. I'm pretty sure it was also REALLY bad for me health-wise but this food was WAY below average (string beans were particularly bad) and the service below par. Do the chain restaurants even have decent cooks anymore? Slop is a nice word for it.*did you know you can buy a Stargate Atlantis Blu-ray Set today on Amazon for less than this meal? And you'll get HOURS And HOURS of pleasure from that DVD set while you get mere minutes from that crappy restaurant. *this really, really makes me wonder how they can still sell - when on special - Lean Pockets for $2 a box w/two inside. I mean, LP have been $2 for years and years and you wonder what sort of mystery meat is inside.*Course, regardless of what is in LP if you cook it yourself you might not have to ALWAYS worry about the restaurant messing with your food if you complain. In the end, we are simply NEVER going back to this restaurant and I'm going to make it a point to let the kids at least pick a DVD or something they want INSTEAD of paying $16 to $17 a plate. And yeah, for those of you who don't MIND paying this much for food, I'm happy for you - and maybe this is a bargain compared to the places you go but understand I don't mind paying up for something enjoyable - but this was utter crud.
As a single guy who eats out way too much (~400 times a year, 60% lunch,30% dinner, 10% breakfast) I agree with you. Even a place like Red Robin could easily run $13+ per person.In my current location real estate is high (median sale price of homes is $480K) and that is passed on through to the food price (or so I've been by a couple of restaurant owners). I'm not sure why the service is so poor. I'm guessing around my area it is due to a lot of spoiled kids. The local fast food places are known for terrible service. The best restaurants (that are close to me) are the Outback and the ChickFilA and that might explain why they are consistently crowded through the week. The other places I don't understand how they stay in business.It does make me wish there were some In-Out places around here (good prices and usually excellent service). I don't mind paying for good food but paying $15+ for a bad sandwich doesn't cut it. I got spoiled with tons of restaurants (including a number of high end ones such as Capitol Grille, Ruth Chris, Masetro's, etc) around me where I lived previously (Scottsdale).Besides the cost savings and avoiding bad service, obviously the other advantage of eating at home is that most food you eat will have less calories.Rich
OEB,One of the best and funniest rants I have read on the fool in 14 years. I eat out a lot. I now eat out before I eat out. In other words my local diner is so expensive and poor that I eat out at some other venue to save money before joining friends at the diner. In fact all of us are experimenting with eating out before we eat out. We compare notes. One guy a Russian goes to the local KFC for the buffet, $6 all you can eat. So I tried that. I rather pay three times as much and be happy. But I dont have to. I had a great grinder and a bottle of water for $7 last night and then got together with the boys at the diner. But I had a grilled cheese at a late hour and a bowl of lentil soup. The diner did both well, but the cost with a cup of tea was $10. This meant leaving a two dollar tip. So last night cost me $19. Ouch. At the very least I would have spent $15, so the $19 was in the ball park. The four dollars times 350 nights is $1400 per year. Sheesh. If I had just eaten at the diner it would have been $20 plus. That would make it an extra dollar or two or three hundred to seven hundred dollar per year more. Mind you it is possible to waste that much gas trying to eat before you eat. LOL Generally the first restaurant is on my way. Or better yet a super market. I do end up in super markets even though I am like a vampire seeing sunlight in a super market. My group of over fed guys is currently going through spasms Star Trek style like getting the Enterprise away from a tractor beam. I dont drink, but a few years ago as the recession hit I was hanging out at a bar. It was a disco on Friday nights. The crowd when things were their worst would put a bottle of booze in their cars and then drink before they entered the bar. They would buy one drink for the entire night and keep going to their cars. And then when their judgement was slight off, ya think, they would drive off. The bar's profits plunged. Dave
Oh, the humanity---I sort of chuckle at modern day Americans. When I grew up in the 50s and 60s, the family ate out maybe six times a year....and that was mostly on vacations. A real real treat, like maybe a 16th birthday for my sister, was a trip to a French restaurant...otherwise, we never ate out at home. On weekends, at the summer place my dad built from the ground up, we'd have a family barbecue.....some of the relatives would come up, enjoy the lake, and we'd make hamburgers and hot dogs plus some corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes. That was it. I brownbagged school lunches all the way through school. No money to buy school lunches, which were gross anyway. ---Now, I eat out about 4 times a week. Monday - Great Wall Chinese buffet - senior night - $8.77 including taxWed - turkey/dressing and two veggies - at Chubby's family restaurant.... $7.78 plus tip...... usually good. thurs - meat lasagna at Joes Pasta and Pizza - $8.12 plus tip. Oh...and I always have water...... you want colored water with high fructose sweetener? Add another $3 to the price of your meal. Sunday morning breakfast - Value Slam at Denny's plus AARP coffee - $5.41 plus tipOh, we got the Outback and the Lonestar Steak House (they do have before 6pm specials for $9 that are good), Red Lobster, Furss Buffett ($12 plus $3 softdrinks)...... if you want to spend more. Fish Monger....and dozens of other eateries. Spaghetti Warehouse..where you can easily drop $18/person - or more if you want a softdrink...or even more if you order a beer.....-----Most families would be a lot better off eating at home, saving the money, and RARELY having a 'restaurant meal' out. If I want a change, I go to the Boston Market for a Quarter White chicken dinner ($7.10 with senior discount and no tip required). On vacations - I eat out every night...... and you can have a nice avocado chicken salad at Denny's for under $10.......Yes....you want to go to a name chain restaurant, you are going to pay pay pay. But....if you've ever been to Germany or Sweden or Norway......you'd realize you are eating for half of what they have to spend for a meal out. They easily drop $25 to $50..and that doesn't include the wine..... t
But....if you've ever been to Germany or Sweden or Norway......you'd realize you are eating for half of what they have to spend for a meal out. They easily drop $25 to $50..and that doesn't include the wine..... Amen - if I go out for dinner with my wife here in Belgium I can easily drop €40 per head including drinks.Which brings me to a question that may high-jack the thread. Next week I'm in California for a vacation and to visit family. Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?So far I'm guessing Chipotle, but any other recommendations?
Chipotle and Noodles are far too salty. Try MCD's chicken wraps. Only four and a quarter a piece. What a deal.LOLDave
platykurtic says... Next week I'm in California for a vacation and to visit family. Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?So far I'm guessing Chipotle, but any other recommendations?In many California towns you can find a selection of Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese noodle places. They are usually a good bet and they do have other choices besides noodles.I like Chipotle but their menu is so limited that you can't go there often without getting bored.
Surely this is going up far faster than inflation? ...*this really, really makes me wonder how they can still sell - when on special - Lean Pockets for $2 a box w/two inside. I mean, LP have been $2 for years and years and you wonder what sort of mystery meat is inside Okay, it's time to show the world why my screen name is EightTrack rather than John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. Cue the cassette player!http://boards.fool.com/retailers-and-oil-22898129.aspx?sort=...OneEyeBird (formerly IllustratedMan, formerly *****martian) wrote in 2005: So, will $6 a week change your spending habits? It won't mine. I may eat one more lean pocket to compensate (FL has them for 3 for $5, with a $1 off coupon!), but....and it was pretty easy putting together a car pool for school this year... Plus, they give you TWO per package!! Combine it with a fruit cup or an apple along with some regular tap water and presto - you eat lunch for barely over a dollar (and loose weight at the same time). Better yet, those LP things are suprisingly tasty... Q.E.D. Proof of Lean Pocket Inflation. 2005 = $1.33 per box with coupon. In 2013, $2.00 per box. And no, Lean Pocket Deflationistas, he is not referring to 3 boxes for $5 after coupon, but to 3 boxes for $4 after coupon. ****Other Golden Oldies from the abovementioned 2005 thread: Peak Margins - an excellent call by the BirdMan as margins for American Eagle did peak in 2006 alongside the stock price. keep in mind that AEOS trades for peak margins and is lapping every harder comps at the same time sqft growth is farily modest. None of this is particularly surprising as you know. HowardRoark witticism, adjusted to 2005 funny money pricing First we have the link about the hedgie who is crying poorhouse because he's up a whopping six percent but can barely afford to pay both his nanny and his housekeeper. Now we have some big shot wealth manager shoving it our faces that he throws around fivers like they were duct tape and responds to crippling gas price hikes by gorging himself with yet more pre-prepared foods.[Public service announcement to Liquid Lounge GM/IM acolytes who don't live the same high flying, urbane asset management life as certain zealots, but plan to emulate their hero by driving 180 miles to the closest mall to demand 3 Lean Pockets for $4 from a bunch of apathetic high school athletes in referee shirts: FL = Food Lion. Stay out of the fast lane until you can handle the speed.] A Beautiful call on DLTR at multi-year lows, hopefully everyone backed up the truck (after emptying the truck bed of all those discounted Food Lion Lean Pockets). [High gas prices are] killing the deep discounters right now - FRED, DG, FDO, DLTR and somewhat on BLI are all in the trash heap. DLTR in particular really has a nice story going on right now (all DCs are built; reduced CapEx; good SGA control; better recent invenotry control; lots of FCF; steady buybacks; reasonable expansion), but you can't see it with the gross margin pressure from lower transactions and comps. Last excerpt: HR, thanks for the belly-laugh. We all can use more of them this week.No kidding. Talk about a rough week for the human race. I'm afraid to read the paper in the morning. I don't know what happened in August and September 2005, but wait for 2008. You thought 2005 had rough weeks? Wait for 2008. 'Peak' rough weeks, baby!ET
Next week I'm in California for a vacation and to visit family. Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?Be more specific on location. America has some fantastic restaurants, none of which are publicly traded.Give me the cities you'll be at and I can lead you in the right direction.
Which brings me to a question that may high-jack the thread. Next week I'm in California for a vacation and to visit family. Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?One thing to do might be to ask the very people who you want to take out to eat. There are a couple of ways to do that. One is that you could just ask them as you're planning to eat -- "Where do you want to go?" Another might be to ask casually (or maybe in the course of conversation about something related) about relatively low-priced eating places that serve relatively healthy food -- i.e., to ask this when you're NOT planning anything. It's just talk. Then, later, when you really are planning to eat out, you could come up with something like "What about that place you mentioned before -- whatever it's called -- let's go there!" culcha
"Next week I'm in California for a vacation and to visit family. Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?"Avoid Bob Evans at all costs, low prices but truly awful food. I would actually avoid most chains (even though I own stock in several) and go for good local fare after doing some research.sw
d@mn, I KNEW others kept up with LeanPocket trivia!for the record:Proof of Lean Pocket Inflation. 2005 = $1.33 per box with coupon. In 2013, $2.00 per boxpart of this is cause we lost our beloved FL - so no more coupons like that anymore...
Avoid Bob Evans at all costs, low prices but truly awful food. I 2nd that - the last one we went to (felt obligated to eat there) was truly insanely bad....On the restaurant question, if you don't mind UNHEATHLY food, 5 Guys does a great burger...
Sitting here in Singapore where a pint (500cc not an real pint) costs 10-12 USD and a coffee at Starbucks costs 4-5USD, 65USD for a meal for 4 sounds a bargain. I'm not sure what the rant is really worth.America is piss cheap to live in for a 1st world country with the exception of healtcare costs and anything to do with Lawyers or both. Eating out for a family of 4 at 65bucks assuming good quality food and labour actually paid a wage sounds a steal - if you factor in your own prep time to shop and prepare/cook the food and apply that to your own salary rate per hour then I think it's a good outsourcing arrangement.If I walk away from a restaurant in Singapore with a 65USD bill for 2 then I would be happy at that.If you are pepared to pay another 5-10USD for high quality food that you couldn't source yourself or cook to the same quality then you are still making a good trade.A
d@mn, I KNEW others kept up with LeanPocket trivia!for the record:Proof of Lean Pocket Inflation. 2005 = $1.33 per box with coupon. In 2013, $2.00 per boxpart of this is cause we lost our beloved FL - so no more coupons like that anymore... Go west young man. Winco offers $1.30 Lean Pockets with coupons. Buy 93 boxes and at 70 cents per box savings you'll recoup your $65 restaurant tab loss. http://www.discountqueens.com/winco-cheap-hot-pockets-lean-c...ETOr buy one box of this Lean Pocket flavor and you won't care anymore about the restaurant tab.https://twitter.com/JaayBearTM/status/349312728118218752/pho...
Just happened to come across a couple of articles on the economics of eating out:http://priceonomics.com/the-economics-of-eating-out/http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/six-rule...Tips include:* Avoid ordering beverages (adult or soft) as they have the highest markup. Water is usually free.* Favor places in low rent districts (they have to entice customers with their food quality and service).* The Food Truck is your friend.* Favor Family Owned instead of chains.* Favor restaurants located in residential areas rather than office-laden areas. The office-laden areas cater to the after work drinks crowd.Rich
I would add, order online as Take-Out and eat at your backyard patio. No tip and you supply the drinks, saving quite a bit of money.
One must differentiate among 'dining out':1) top-notch expensive good restaurants,2) good, locals places - can be pricey or cheap,3) Your complaint which I totally agree with - the dreaded 'casual dining,'4) fast food - Chik-fil-a, Chipotle, Wendy's, etc.As I've noted for years to the disbelief of many who don't actually read the data, almost all Americans [on average] spend more on dining out each year than they do on healthcare.In fact, when you break it down by age group, you have to get to the 55-64 age bracket before finding one that spends more on health care than they do on dining out & alcohol. Obviously, this is true for the 65-74 and 75+ age brackets as well. Source: bls.gov
I don't know what happened in August and September 2005, but wait for 2008. You thought 2005 had rough weeks? Wait for 2008. 'Peak' rough weeks, baby!ET I'm calling Peak 2013 right now. Sure, sure, the 'wise' will tell you we have plenty of 2013 left, but I'm here to say we've passed the tipping point and we will inevitably run out of 2013 in the near future.
I assume they are from Cali, but even my avoids-red-meat gf loves Elevation Burger. Check it out if you've never been. "organic" and much more importantly, delicious.
I'm calling Peak 2013 right now. Sure, sure, the 'wise' will tell you we have plenty of 2013 left, but I'm here to say we've passed the tipping point and we will inevitably run out of 2013 in the near future. Naj-That's a bold call considering we've had 180+ straight days of 2013. I lack the technical skills of MDCigan, but if you check the charts 2013 is set up for a classic Fibonacci Retracement. We may re-test early spring 2013 and that should set us up nicely for a quick ramp up directly to late summer. However, if early spring 2013 doesn't hold we may find ourselves retracing all the way back to fall 2012. ET
Avoid Panda Express. Food that bad for you should at least be yummy.
Request is too vague. Among other things California is a pretty decent size European (country),with a lot of options and food variety. But if you accepted CMG as a suggestion, then El Pollo Loco will probably also qualify. I orderindividual items, but they have nice family deals.
Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?Hooters.
That's a bold call considering we've had 180+ straight days of 2013.I lack the technical skills of MDCigan, but if you check the charts 2013 is set up for a classic Fibonacci Retracement. We may re-test early spring 2013 and that should set us up nicely for a quick ramp up directly to late summer. What CNBC won't tell you is that consumers are going to demand more and MORE 2013 this year. Demand is only going to increase, they are going to want more summertime. As we start to run out of 2013 they will demand massive amounts of turkeys and football on TV to avoid any meaningful conversation with relatives and children. Finally, demand for 2013 will hit an ALLTIME HIGH a week before the country finally runs out -- I estimate this demand to hit critical mass sometime around December 25th where virtually everyone will insist on needing more time...right up until possibly Dec 31st where, lacking the ability to produce/consume further 2013, they will resort to alcohol.
Where are recommended places to eat in the USA for cost-effective not entirely unhealthy family eating?Hooters. I cannot disagree with this enough. Forget the old Hooters. Try instead the new upscale Hooters such as Twin Peaks, Tilted Kilt, or other that are similar. My honest answer - avoic chains, buffets etc. Use Yelp.com if you need help. Ask locals where they go not where you should go. Over years of travelling, often last minute I've learned thats an important distinction. When you ask hotel staff where to eat they will give you a generic list not to offend. When you ask where they eat you will get the good local places, or if they seem young you ask "When your parents come to town where do you eat" Speaking of costs, I of course cannot find it now but there was an infographic that showed in the 1960s the average american spent 20% of their income on food which was 90% eaten at home, now its 6%. I live in Wisconsin where the goal for a restaurant has always been that food is breakeven and you make your money on booze (and now soda). Add in the fact that the tax on a barrel of beer hasn't increased since the 60's and booze is cheap. Here is Lewis Black's take on Wisconsin:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WlwumGkSec
Guys,My charting secret sauce says 2013 will go into next year. That 2013 may last some three years. Then we see the reset of the best of 2013 back in late May. This could become a four year swoon. Are we all on the same calendar pages? One month leads into the next as usual, but there is something in the air this time that could be different. The tides are rising. I am not yet sure if my sauce is a BBQ sauce or a Hollandaise, either way I am keeping it all to myself. My food bill is dropping.Dave
err Hooters and family dining? I've never understood that about America. How do American Dads manage to persuade wives and kids to go to a restaurant that positions itself as some kind of stip bar with food. Either American men are way more persuasive than I give them credit for; American women are way more liberal than I give them credit for or the porn industry and lap dancing establishments have become so acceptable and mainstream that Hooters is just seen as completely innocent family friendly option.A
Maybe a family friendly owl theme rebrand.
*Course, regardless of what is in LP if you cook it yourself you might not have to ALWAYS worry about the restaurant messing with your food if you complain. But with crummy service the food will never burn the top of your mouth like those evil LPs coming out of the microwave.jack
that positions itself as some kind of strip bar with food. Please. You grab lunch at some outdoor cafe at South Beach and they're often wearing less clothing than they do at Hooters. Hooter's is to lap dancing as Hooter's is to Per Se.
Please. You grab lunch at some outdoor cafe at South Beach and they're often wearing less clothing than they do at Hooters.Yeh but your average farming family from ohio doesn't get to south beach or vegas often so Hooters will have to do. Honestly the first time I rocked into a Hooters, I honestly couldn't believe it and that was after a weekend stag do in vegas.Were you joking about them introducing a more up market gentleman's club of hooters called twin peaks? You couldn't make it up surely. Genius.A
Many thanks all for the restaurant advice!
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