Sunday, August 24, 2014

Modern Decor...MY ASS!

I've got a problem. I'm getting older. Yes, I know, we ALL are. Haha, consider the alternative, blah blah blah.
American society has always been youth oriented, but now that us Baby Boomers are nearing retirement, it has really skewed younger. Nothing points to this more clearly than hospitality decor.

A typical modern destination type restaurant has jettisoned the soft, high backed chairs of luxury accommodation and replaced them in most cases with hard metallic stools, or even worse, benches. As a man nearing my 60's, this is almost reason enough for me to not dine at such a place. How can I enjoy my meticulously prepared and presented meal when my ass is screaming for me to get off of it the entire time? "This Muscovy duck breast in a port wine reduction is superb, but OWEEE my aching back!"
Cool looking, but Daikaya's upscale Ramen would be more comforting with a damn CUSHION somewhere!

I know those of you who were trained in Hospitality Management were taught to maximize profits via turnover.
 Yes, turnover- good in restaurants, bad in basketball. It means getting more people in and out faster by serving them fast, and not letting them linger. I'm all for the former, but not much for being shooed out of a nice post-prandial glow and onto the street. I'm certainly more disposed to getting off my butt if it is in extreme discomfort. 
Yet, how good can it be for business if 1/3 of your prospective clientele refuses to even walk in your joint because it looks painful to them? Also the theory that you don’t want an older clientele because they don’t drink (not true!!!), and don’t spend (really not true) falls apart when you remember that we have the expendable income, not those kids struggling to stay afloat and barely making ends meet. There are more of us, and we have the dough. Why cater to the younger ones? 

And while we are discussing pain, how about the decade-long trend of making the audial atmosphere in a restaurant absolutely deafening? Yes I know the common reasoning that works here: If you walk in a place that’s quiet, you think “This place is dead. The food must suck”. If you walk in a place that has activity or at least is loud, then it has the appearance of being busy, even if it’s just 4 tables. There is always a “Playlist” going on, sometimes devised by the owner, sometimes courtesy of satellite radio, and it’s loud and often inappropriate. The walls and ceiling are metal, concrete and glass, and the floors are hardwood or concrete or something else reverberant. There is nothing to absorb the sound, and the result is conversation is only possible when yelled. 

Can you imagine doing this in your home? Serve dinner to family  and or friends, turn the stereo up to top volume, and remove all the rugs and curtains. What a lovely evening that would turn out to be!

This is the audial equivalent to having bright halogen lamps on all over the place, shining directly in your patrons eyes. 

The sad part about all of this, is that now the quality and originality of the food are no longer the determinant factors in where I dine, and before I drop a ton of hard-earned on a night out, I want to make sure that I won’t feel like I’m at disco night in the local penitentiary. 

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