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Friday Follies: Ultra-Affluent Families Change Restaurant Dining Habits in These Parlous Times

Money Kid

It’s not exactly a sign of the impending Apocalypse, but it IS interesting. Sort of…

It would appear that the downturn has begun to force the ultra-affluent in America to change their eating habits. They’re still spending (Thank goodness, or it really WOULD be the end of the world), and even spending in restaurants. However, they’re dramatically increasing their patronage of fast-food joints. Yep, they’re putting on their slumming clothes, firing up the Jag (the Rolls would be too conspicuous, don’t you think?) and heading on over to the In-N-Out. Year-over-year, they are spending 24% more in places like Long John Silver’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, KFC and Subway, according to this report.

They’re also spending less at the Golf Club and more at the local cinema. Seems to me they don’t feel rich at the moment, nor do they see things moving up anytime soon…

One amazing rationalization in the full report is that:

Ultra-affluent consumers are showing signs that they might be increasingly valuing speed over elegance as the global economy continues to change.

Speed over elegance? What a crock. They’re scared in this economy, that’s what it is. And if they’re scared, maybe we should be too. But I digress… [sliding soapbox back under desk] You gotta understand, I’m a big fan of fast food (watch it with the smart remarks, Tom!), and I think it’s great that the ultra-rich have found it, and like it.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Does this mean that prices for a Whataburger are about to go up? Or the pseudotacos at Taco Bell? (Maybe not.) What about the (so-called) Chinese takeaway at Panda Express? Increased competition can do that, you know! On the other hand, maybe these rich consumers will be more vocal and cause these chains to clean up their acts and actually serve food.

I’m not holding my breath.

Maybe they’ll develop a taste for fast and casual dining and I can open a new chain? I’ve been thinking of fusion fast food: Something like tortilla-wrapped sushi, in a push-up tube or something. Great for eating in the car, only takes one hand. And a lot less likely to drip on the leather seats in the Maserati

Enjoy the (Fast Food Frenzy) Heat!

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