Hannah Howard, the waitress who writes the “Served” column at Serious Eats, turns her attention to the economy in her most recent installment: “Last weekend, we didn’t just beat our record for money made in a night — and for most pieces of cheese and glasses of wine sold — we smashed it.” But that doesn’t mean all is well: “The multitudes of drinkers and diners are spending a bit less money. With more checks and slightly lower check averages, we’re holding more than steady.” She thinks it’s because her restaurant is reasonably priced and comfy — plus, with holiday parties being called off, more people are turning to the bar. But a friend at another fine-dining establishment tells her that “people are still spending plenty of money. But they are tipping less. A lot less.” And at an even fancier restaurant, the weeknights are uncomfortably slow. “It’s awful,” a server tells her. “We’re scratching at the walls.” Eek.
Served: Good and Bad Times for Restaurants [Serious Eats]