The evolution of dining out has increased quickly but can’t be sustained. I can remember my first bosses doing the “three martini lunches” on a daily basis. But by the time I was on the tail end of my own career, 50–60 hr workweeks for everyone were common. 90% of employees were dropping burrito and french fry crumbs every day onto their keyboards.
Fast/casual works for both diners who are working and/or budget constrained, and owner/mgmt who are struggling with inflationary overhead.
The prix fixe fad has a ways to go yet, I think, but it too will fade. It’s become too much of a gimmick. Easier on the front and back of the house, but most of these menus are actually rather generic.
We stopped in for lunch at Taj Campton Place/SF and found it similar to dozens of other CA cuisine menus we’ve had. The curry elements were innocuous and modest, hardly different than when chef Josh Logan gave us grilled scallops in vadouvan sauce at Meritage @Claremont Hotel/Berkeley way back in 2012.
One reviewer recently lauded a restaurant for NOT putting a kale salad on the menu, LOL. Too much investor money chasing too few diner $$$s, methinks.