Once upon a time you had to book to get a table at a restaurnant for lunch but apparently now instead of going out for lunch our French cousins are more likely to eat a sandwich at there desks.
French restrauteur Bernard Picolet disagrees that the credit crunch is the cause.
People will tell you that it's because of the economic crisis or it's because of the smoking ban [which came into effect in cafés and restaurants in February] or because there are no Americans around. Yes, of course, it is partly the fault of those things but it is also something much worse than that and, I fear, it's not going to get better. The French, these days, are no longer eating like the French. They are eating like the English.
Younger French people today don't understand or care about food. They are happy to gobble a sandwich or chips, rather than go to a restaurant. They will spend a lot of money going to a nightclub but not to eat a good meal. They have the most sophisticated kinds of mobile telephone but they have no idea what a courgette is. They know all about the internet but they don't know where to start to eat a fish
French bloggers apparently blame restauranteurs for exploiting the move to the Euro to increase prices by considerably more than inflation.
Danièle Deleval is vice-president of the restaurateurs' trade body, L'Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie blames the government for failing to delvier on its promise to persuade the EU to reduce the amount of VAT payable on French restaurant meals from 19.6% to 5.5%. President Sarkozy has revived the idea but this is being blocked by Brussels.
Apparently people who still go to restaurants are being more circumspect in what they order. Some are finding themselves harassed by angry waiters or restaurateurs. At the Aux Lyonnais restaurant in Paris, owned by the celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, diners who decline to order an aperitif are told that their meals "will take a long time to prepare".
At the Quincy restaurant two couples were recently shown the door after they declined to order a starter. When they protested, the owner said: "How do you expect me to survive?"
With an attitude like that he won't ! Pete
Monsieur Picolet thinks darker forces are at work.
It starts in the home .... French people are going American, eating snacks in front of the TV. How can you expect them to appreciate a good meal?
Which reminds me we've just booked our Christmas lunch. I seldom get a lunch break these days.