Can upscale restaurants go downmarket in this economy? [classic article]

Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud –according to today’s New York Times — is learning the hard way what it’s like to work on tiny profit margins. He’s opening a restaurant in NYC that has a $32 prix fixe — the same amount he charges in his upscale restaurants for an appetizer. He was tinkering with the costs and found out that it was wasn’t the meat dishes that were killing his bottom line — it was his truffle reduction sauce. Well, yeah. This isn’t someone who’s shopping the grocery market with $20 in his hand, trying to buy dinner for the family.

Further, he is actively discouraging the younger set from coming to his new place — “it’s hard to get a liquor license” — by putting older songs for background music.

He does pride himself on his ability to be frugal, having grown up on a farm. I say, once they’ve been to Paris, it’s hard to get ’em back on the farm.

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