Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eating Local and The Economy

Today President Obama signed into law a bill to help save the American economy. An insanely large some of money that I can barely fathom. This combined with my sous chef's ranting phone call about local economy and restaurants spurned me to post this particular blog. Well, right now we here a lot of gloom and doom coming from the restaurant gossip circles. And not just around here in NC but all over the country. Friends in NY and New Orleans talk about it being particularly bleak.

2 poor semesters of college economics does little for my validity,and I am hardly political, but here are my thoughts. EAT AT YOUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS! At our restaurant we purchase roughly 80% of our food locally. Our owners actually live 3 blocks away from our front doors. All of our employees live and feed the economy in our area. But it goes so much further than that. When a guest enters our restaurant you help us as well as our waitstaff to make a living. In turn we purchase food from local purveyors which helps their employees and so on.

Let's take for instance dining at your neighborhood chain restaurant, i.e. Applebees, Chili's, TGIF, Macarooni grill, Outback, Carrabas, Bonefish etc. When your enter these Establishments yes you help the economy of the employees who work at each individual unit. That is more or less $.30 of every dollar you spend staying local. Next, the food purchased by these chains comes from varying sources such as California, China, Mexico, Peru. That is another $.30 on the dollar not going to local economy. Then the profits from these chain restaurants is shipped to Wallstreet where CEOs get it.

Money Spent in our restaurant stays local. If you have a problem with a meal you can call/ email the owner. They live right here. They are your neighbors. Also, if you don't find favor with the food that I create you can come knock on my door. So eat at your local restaurants.

I was in a restuarant profitablity workshop and talking with the restaurant expert I came to find out that most chain restaurants are actually more expensive than the local eateries. Yes they advertise meals for $5.99 (to start). But the majority actually charge more and usually offer far inferior products. Support your local dining scene and I bet the economy will benifit greatly.

My wife and I this past Sunday went to celebrate the final days of the restaurant where we met. Shucker's Oyster bar had been in business for 24 years and has finally closed it's doors at the original location. It was a happy sad time. Good friends and drinks. It is also the kitchen where I got my start. Here is what that kitchen looked like after a beating and 24 years of service.

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