How Do You Choose a Restaurant?

How do you choose a restaurant?

For me, first and foremost, it’s experience.  I’ve been there before. I’ve had a good time.  I’ve had good meal there.   I want to go back.  It’s safe.  I know what I’ll be getting.  I know what it’ll cost.

That’s the reason chains do so well, I think.  Earl’s in Victoria is pretty much the same as Earl’s in Langley or Whistler.  Denny’s is pretty much Denny’ anywhere in North America.  You can get the same Boston Pizza or pasta at any location.

It’s not a bad thing.  It’s actually a very human thing.  We like the familiar. We like the comfort.

But what do you do when you want to try some place new?

How do you make the decision?

Again, I think it’s experience.  Not your own but someone else’s.  A friend’s recommendation.  A type of food you’re familiar with.  A review in the paper or on-line.

It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You know, the one that says first we need food, then shelter then TV, then sex then discount clothing stores and way, way at the top is an audi TT convertible.  Or Boxter.

Choosing a restaurant has the same hierarchy of needs.

At least mine do.

It starts with.  A need for food.

Next –  what?  What do I want?  What do I feel like?

Then – cost.

Then where?   Dine in or out?  Is it far?

And off I go.

Let me give you an example… “I feel hungry.”  “I want to eat something.”  “Quick, it’s in- between hockey periods and I have nothing to stuff into my face.”

But what?  Hmmm.  Chinese?  Greek?  Italian?  Scottish haggis?  A double-double at Timmies?

No.  Something French.  But a croissant and espresso on a side street in Paris would cost $1500 with airfare there and back, a hotel room for the night and possibly a tip for the snarky waiter.  A bit much.  So more local.  But in or out?   A fancy restaurant where I will have first find good shirt, then iron it.  A chain?  Is it food I will eat?  Chateaubriand, sure.  Pickled goat testicals.  No.

This is where I rely on recommendations or reviews, usually.

Ah, a nice bistro.  One of my foodie friends says the bison bisque is the bomb.  That should be a neat experience.

And off I go to White Spot, instead, because I know I like their burgers.

However, for the next few weeks, something totally different.

Something new.  First.  A new place.  A new food.  A new experience.

A recommendation.  A review.  A groupon (or Couvon).  A neat sign.  A crowd outside.  Whatever will give me a cool and new experience.

In other words, I’m going to get out of my routine and experience life and food a bit more.  Goat testicals? Ah WTF, let’s give it a go.

Hmmm.  More chewy than I expected.

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