Zagats’ Prognosis for Restaurants


Over at The Atlantic’s new Food Channel, regular contributors Tim and Nina Zagat (founders of the Zagat Guide) have written their first post, predicting that the recession won’t significantly change the face of the restaurant world.

In fact, they posit that the industry will continue to grow. (Although New York restaurants lost 10,000 jobs between October 2008 and January 2009.) The Zagats write that we’ll all continue to eat out as much as before because two-career couples are the norm, so no one has time to cook, and because we’re so caught up in celebrity chefs, food media and food reality TV shows that eating out is now an entrenched part of our cultural fabric. I suppose it’s unsurprising that the publishers of a restaurant guide would predict a rosy future for restaurants.

Meanwhile, over at Nation’s Restaurant News, Anthony Bourdain is, as usual, pulling no punches, saying that “There is going to be an apocalyptic shakeout. On the plus side, the bullshit will be the first to go.”

And in a hyperbolic Op-Ed in the LA Times, Tom Engelhardt
writes that the empty storefronts and closed restaurants equal a “second, silent 9-11.”

My bet would be that if you picked a point halfway between continued, unfettered growth and apocalypse, that’s where restaurants are going to end up.


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