January 3, 2019 |
There was a time when it was almost exclusively mothers who provided the majority of people’s home-cooked experiences, coupled with students learning the joys of making spam on toast. Then, there was an explosion in the popularity of TV chefs, with rockstar levels of fandom and their accompanying recipe books, along with expansive online food blogs showcasing more sumptuous dishes than you could eat in 100 giant tortoises lifetimes. This, coupled with the increasingly varied produce supermarkets provide, across a range of premium qualities, led to huge surge in people learning to cook, those who really enjoy the effort they put in and the dishes they get out of it. But has this made restaurants more inconsequential and redundant, or do they still offer real value to consumers?
Restaurants have lots of things going in their favour. Having someone serve and attend to your needs is always a treat away from home, unless you’re one of the lucky few who have a Jeeves-style butler serving you champagne breakfasts of a morning. Plus, there’s the convenience factor. Why spend time sourcing ingredients, researching recipes, cooking meals, eating them and then having to clean a kitchen full of dirty dishes, when you can let someone do all the hard work for you? Decent supermarket ‘ready meals’ do take the sting out of home-cooked effort, but it’s rare you’d find a ready meal that matched restaurant quality meals, unless the restaurant in question was a few food-standard certificates short of a full english breakfast.
And then there’s the social factor restaurants provide, where you’re often dining with friends or colleagues, free from the distraction of slaving over a hot stove, and able to focus solely on good conversation and fine food.
But home cooking increasingly has the social factor going for it too. Many folks love to invite people over for a dinner party, and enjoy impressing their friends with the tastiness of their tagliatelle or the sumptuousness of their souffle. This trend’s popularity has been made plainly obvious by the recent trend in television shows centred exclusively around home-cooked dinner parties.
There is also great enjoyment and satisfaction in cooking your own food. For many it serves as a fantastic stress reliever, something to leisurely concentrate on with a glass of wine while you take your mind off life’s other worries and your boss cracking the whip at work. And of course there’s the price. Unless you regularly scour high end supermarkets for oysters and caviar, home-cooked meals will almost always be much cheaper.
Weighing up the primary factors of the reduced cost of home cooking vs the time saved and service at restaurants, many restaurants do continue to offer consumer’s real value, but the value at the low end of the market has been reduced, as more people focus on spending time creating meals of a higher calibre, using premium ingredients and creative recipes from notable chefs. Bog-standard restaurants offering unimaginative dishes, without an extremely attractive price point to go with it, will likely find their popularity waning.
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