My wife and I decided we would go out for dinner this past Saturday night. She's always telling me that you've got to make a reservation on Saturday night because things get busy and we'll have to wait for an hour without one. Since there are so many restaurants to eat at in Atlanta, I usually brush her off thinking that surely there will be some good restaurant that I can walk into on a Saturday night. We are going through challenging economic times right now, correct? So it would make sense that I could step out on a Saturday night and grab myself a table at just about any restaurant? Wrong . . . Just flat out wrong.
I live in a large suburb of Atlanta and not too far from Roswell where the downtown area continues to build up on Canton Street with small pubs and restaurants. We headed down around 8:00 to a small restaurant that serves Sushi and other goodies called Zest. When we arrived, we couldn't barely open the door and people were actually eating outdoors encased in some of that hard plastic to block with wind. Wait time . . . One hour and forty minutes. We shuffled across the street to two other restaurants that both offered us a short wait of more than hour in each of them. In fact, every single restaurant in the main downtown area was packed to the hilt with people spending their most recent payday.
After getting back in the car and realizing that my wife is right about having to make reservations on a Saturday night, we drove about twenty minutes north to find a different Sushi place. You'd think that that being roughly 35 to 40 minutes outside the city (and now about 30 minutes later) we could easily get into the local strip mall sushi joint. Wrong . . . Just flat out wrong. We had to wait another 15 to 20 minutes and then we were able to saddle up to the Sushi bar to grab two seats for our dinner. With five or six restaurants in the local strip mall where we ate, the parking lot was jammed full and the restaurants all looked like they had pretty good flow.
If there's a recession going on out there, clearly people aren't paying any attention when it comes to their casual fare dining. None of the restaurants that we approached were fast food nor the Olive Garden type restaurant. I'd consider all of the restaurants we looked at where you are going to pay $25 to $40 per person for dinner. All of them packed with people ready to pony up their money for a few hours of good company and good food.
When it comes to planning your finances, clearly there is a balance of having fun today while being fiscally responsible for the future. I guess Saturday night will always be Saturday night no matter who tells us things aren't going good in the economy. Getting a break from making the food and cleaning the dishes to have someone else wait on us is something everyone looks forward to on a Saturday night. I guess maybe Saturday night may always be recession proof.
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc
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