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Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 19, 2021 09:42PM
With our stove being MIA we've been dining in for the first time since COVID started. We used to eat out 2 to 3 nights a week at a sit down restaurant previously. During COVID we didn't sit down at all and only did delivery or carryout and cooked in the house WAY more.

We ate at a local pizza and wings place, a chain buffet, and Perkins. Definitely not fine dining, but I was shocked at how expensive everything was, how much food they didn't have, and how different it was service wise.

I'd say costs are up at least 50% at the local place for the menu items. The chain's weren't as bad, maybe 15%. The local place was also charging an additional 3% for Credit Card transactions, which I thought they couldn't do. Their food is great, and they are locally owned, but I don't know that I can afford $80 for pizza for 3. Then again, it was over $50 for the other two after tip and the food is not nearly as good.

Food wise, they were all out off odd things like Avacados, olives, certain cheeses, things like that. They had the basics but some items on the menu were being made differently or substituted.

The servers themselves were actually quite excellent at the two restaurants that had them. Extremely personable and very attentive, I left a 30% tip for both as I believed that their service deserved it. That being said, they were absolutely short staffed and they obviously knew it. They apologetically informed us before we ordered that they were the only server on duty, the kitchen was backed up, and gave us a run down of what they were out. It was definitely an extended amount of time to place our order, get food, refills, etc. None of which was the fault of the server

Which brings me to my question, Is it worth it to sit down and have someone prepare your food for you? Personally, I'm not so sure. It definitely isn't the same experience and the cost is way up. What do you think?



C(-)ris
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: October 19, 2021 09:52PM
I have always been an opponent of eating out and a proponent of eating in.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: chopper
Date: October 19, 2021 09:53PM
I eat out all the time. No issues. Food same, prices same.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 19, 2021 10:08PM
Nearly all of the local restaurants have substantively higher prices. Some are closed due to lack of employees (Panera, Potbelly's).

We have been dining outside when we have a choice, but the weather is becoming cooler, and that soon will not be an option.

In terms of quality and ambiance, we have a couple favorite places. But some are now just take-out.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: October 19, 2021 10:42PM
Restaurant prices here in LA are up 30-50% but then food market prices are up 15-30%.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 19, 2021 11:04PM
Eating out is considered a luxury item in our family so we only go to high quality restaurants and only occasionally (i.e. about once a month during Covid). Even then, we only go to restaurants that practice Covid-safe procedures (i.e. masks except when eating, spaced out tables, mostly outdoor dining). I wouldn't dream of going to a cheapo chain restaurant these days..just not worth the risk for mediocre food. Mostly we eat in and most of our special meals are based on fresh foods prepared using our large collection of cookbooks. That means that we mostly eat better food than can be obtained at any restaurant. The main thing I miss is meeting up with friends at a trendy restaurant.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: October 19, 2021 11:45PM
I've gone on a couple of date nights with the wife where we usually get memorable meals. Worth it. Haven't seen significantly higher prices, some impact on the menu but not significant.

Oh, we'll get take out a couple of times a month. That seems normal.

Aside form that as a general rule its not worth it to go to restaurants since we can often make better food at home. It does take some time but meals can last for a few days. I've slowly become a good and competent cook whereas I previously thought I'd never be any good. Repetition goes a looooong ways.

I wonder if there are considerably different regional differences regarding restaurant impact. Hm, one of my regular places is open fewer hours so there' that.



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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: October 19, 2021 11:56PM
We have only resumed dining at outdoor restaurants. Our area gets a really wide cross section of visitors from all over the place, so you can't really generalize how safe our population is. As winter is returning, we'll be back to takeout only mode.

And as of today, Inn N Out is now off of our list of approved placed we will go to...it had been one of our got to drive thru places.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: jdc
Date: October 20, 2021 02:23AM
Guess it depends where you are. Our numbers have always been on the low side.

I technically live in the same county as markintish, but he’s 2 hours from here.

We enjoy eating out. Maybe 3-4 times per week. Wife isn’t the greatest cook by her own admission (her mother was absent, and they were very poor), and I don’t cook enough variety of things my family will eat. We also both work and hours can get long where we are too tired to coook. Both of my daughters are kinda picky eaters. Like their mom.

At the height of everything we stayed mostly in, but still did pickup.

But as soon as outdoor and then indoor dining were allowed we went back pretty quick.

For the last several months it’s been business as usual. We show up masked but eat unmasked. Servers are masked.

Prices are up for sure. We try to do local places but occasionally do chains. Chilis has a great 2 for $25 meal. We split one big steak at outback. Water only. We did go to Olive Garden a week ago, been many years— and was thru the roof $. I kept looking at the menu thinking I was missing something. 1 meal + kids meal + 2 soup + salad was $76 with tip. Yikes.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: RecipeForDisaster
Date: October 20, 2021 05:06AM
Not generally worth it to us. We get take out or stuff from one of our favorite, quality food trucks once every week or two. I cook a huge variety of interesting stuff, so we aren’t deprived. I get good ingredients or use produce I grew. We do miss the food at a restaurant or two. We will eat outside occasionally… but yeah, it takes a lot longer than it used to. We don’t care very much about fine amenities (quality food is another story). Eating outside is super, especially if we can take it somewhere pretty and sit there.

While on vacation, and on day trips, we do get more take out. We were profoundly frustrated at the number of places that had clear hours listed on their website, and which were not true. We got very tired of a 45 minute detour, finding parking and then walking up to a mile (Ogunquit and Kennebunk had a ton of tourists even during the week in mid September!) to find that the place was actually NOT open or had even closed for the year. Their own website, Yelp, Google, etc. said they were. I researched the night before to be sure. Those experiences make us not want to bother with restaurants so much. I’d say it’s been half the time we wanted to go out - we ended up at a place that we had thoroughly vetted, and had to scramble to find another option while we were there and ready to eat. Update your website!
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 20, 2021 06:44AM
Have you thought about just getting a countertop oven and hotplate to use temporarily?

I use my Breville countertop oven more than my stove. A decent oven from Amazon will be around $150, a two-burner hotplate can be had for under $40. Together that is less than a week's worth of dining out.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: RecipeForDisaster
Date: October 20, 2021 06:46AM
Great idea - I use my air fryer toaster oven for everything and never use my oven. I use a two burner hot plate when renting a place without an oven, too.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: October 20, 2021 07:37AM
FWIW I picked up a little butane stove for power outages. When our stove went out we used the microwave, toaster oven, and that. Oh.. AND the BBQ. Mostly the BBQ... it's an oven, after all..
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 20, 2021 08:11AM
Quote
Ombligo
Have you thought about just getting a countertop oven and hotplate to use temporarily?

I use my Breville countertop oven more than my stove. A decent oven from Amazon will be around $150, a two-burner hotplate can be had for under $40. Together that is less than a week's worth of dining out.

We have an air fryer as well as a gas grill. Also have a propane oven in the travel trailer I could use. This is more a convenience thing than anything else. Just don't feel like doing the extra effort.



C(-)ris
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: October 20, 2021 09:18AM
Restaurants have never been a very big part of my life—they're no fun when you're alone—and especially as my income has dropped and then dropped further. Even when traveling, I'd much rather find a takeaway with a park nearby (or an air-conditioned food court in Southeast Asia) and people-watch.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: October 20, 2021 10:33AM
Quote
Markintosh
And as of today, Inn N Out is now off of our list of approved placed we will go to...it had been one of our got to drive thru places.

Why? Calories? Or some recent scandal I'm unaware of?



Paul F.
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A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

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Eureka, CA
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 20, 2021 10:41AM
Quote
Paul F.
Quote
Markintosh
And as of today, Inn N Out is now off of our list of approved placed we will go to...it had been one of our got to drive thru places.

Why? Calories? Or some recent scandal I'm unaware of?


....see the thread on the other side bout 'In N Out' and vaccination....



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: October 20, 2021 10:51AM
I'd LOVE to be back to "dine in", but locally, very few places I want to eat-in at are back to dine-in (mostly staffing issues from the scuttlebut), and many that are are so short staffed, the service sucks. I don't penalize the wait staff for there not being ENOUGH wait staff...
Some friends and I went out for lunch a month or so ago, to get some sun at the outdoor seating restaurant on the bay. Good thing we got there when we did - 45 minute wait to be seated. They were operating at about 1/3 capacity due to short staffing.
Took nearly an hour to get our food. Fortunately, we were there for socializing as much as food.

I've noticed significant price rises at a couple places... One steak-house now just had a little table card with current market steak prices, and the menu's all say "Current Market Prices". The Prime rib has gone from $28 pre-covid to $45 now. $28 was too low, but $45? I can buy a three-rib roast for that and make my own for that! Well, OK, not quite...

I'm waiting for a couple Chinese restaurants to open back up... that's been what I've been craving for dine-in.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: rz
Date: October 20, 2021 11:43AM
Quote
chopper
I eat out all the time. No issues. Food same, prices same.

Ditto here
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 20, 2021 12:07PM
....being po'.......can't eat out every day.......only like once a year......



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: fauch
Date: October 20, 2021 01:45PM
I never stopped going to restaurants. Except when the gubment closed them, even then a few flew under the radar...
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: bfd
Date: October 20, 2021 09:41PM
Yes, but make it a point to dine in an uncrowded, outside venue.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: October 20, 2021 10:37PM
Quote
bfd
Yes, but make it a point to dine in an uncrowded, outside venue.

Not so easy to do a lot of climate zones.
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 21, 2021 02:59PM
Quote
RgrF
Quote
bfd
Yes, but make it a point to dine in an uncrowded, outside venue.

Not so easy to do a lot of climate zones.

Yep, we are going to be SOL here in about 2 weeks. Curious to see what happens to COVID numbers when we are all stuck inside.



C(-)ris
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Re: Are you dining in at Restaurants? Is it worth it?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: October 21, 2021 05:34PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
RgrF
Quote
bfd
Yes, but make it a point to dine in an uncrowded, outside venue.

Not so easy to do a lot of climate zones.

Yep, we are going to be SOL here in about 2 weeks. Curious to see what happens to COVID numbers when we are all stuck inside.

They'll go up... because humans don't want to be stuck inside ALONE... they get stuck inside TOGETHER. Hopefully, vaccination rates will change that prediction.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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