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The Non’trée…and food for thought

Posted by gratrueities on January 3, 2009

This term  – The Non’trée – caught my eye a few weeks ago in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Coined by servers, it refers to diners who opt to order an appetizer in lieu of the more expensive main course offerings. The  article, Kitchen Cutbacks, confirmed my fears that many Bay Area restaurants are feeling the pinch in these economic times. Even Michael Mina, one of the finest restaurants in San Francisco, is feeling the effects. I hate to think that some of our wonderful restaurants may not survive. 

People are dining more conservatively – they may not order multiple courses, will order a glass of wine rather than a bottle, are ordering less expensive wines, skipping dessert and so forth.  Obviously this translates to lower bills and, therefore, lower tips for the servers – and lower profits for the owners. This is a problem for everyone involved in the restaurant industry.

Still. I feel there are aspects to this trend that are not entirely negative.  First and foremost, the Non’trée diner is still dining out – that alone is something to be thankful for! Also, as the article points out, the fact that restaurants are competing to attract customers may ultimately benefit diners.

Further, as an a occasional Non’trée diner even in the best of times (sometimes the otions are just more appealing than the main courses and sometimes I am just not very hungry!), I hope I’m not being judged for my choices. I like to feel it’s acceptable to go out for a meal without overindulging, a temptation that is often hard to resist, and especially so when there is a subtle pressure to order from every section on the menu along with cocktails and wine. 

Just a little food for thought…as the economy dictates that we cut back on the excess in many areas of our lives, it may lead us to be more selective and make some healthier choices overall.

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4 Responses to “The Non’trée…and food for thought”

  1. gratrueities said

    Hi–I’ve been finding myself sharing more entree’s than before. Not sure if this is a reaction to the economy or just trying to eat less!!

  2. Anony.Miss said

    Good points. I think eating less is at the forefront of many diners’ goals and the fact that they are still eating out is significant. The other positive is that when only an appetizer and a glass of wine is served sometimes the table will turn over quicker. This can be good on a busy night or bad on a slow one; an empty looking restaurant is not as appealing to some people going out for a night on the town. I kind of like it though!

  3. Anony.Miss said

    I also appreciate it when they feature a meal lower in fat.

  4. Anony.Miss said

    and overall calories.

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