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No More Free Breadbaskets: Is it a Culinary Shift or the Economy?

Restaurants all over the country are cutting back on the free breadbaskets, the consumption falling from approximately 19 percent in the mid 2000s to approximately 14 percent in the last couple of years. This new trend is indicative of two important factors that Americans are faced with in the current times. The first being the gluten free diet fad that has taken over the imagination of the now health-conscious people and the second being the fact that making bread has become an increasingly expensive affair.

The curious case of gluten free and low carb diets

The Boston Globe recently carried an article featuring restaurant owners and chefs talking about the reasons for breaking away from the culture of free breadbaskets. According to Estelle’s Eric Gburski, who has started serving pickles instead of bread, says that the former is a safer option these days. Considering that pickles are gluten free, soy free and diary free, it is a way more sensible option than having customers send the fare back for other options. 

The low carb and gluten free diet fad has recently gained new ground owing to its endorsement by The Journal of the American Medical Association. People are also becoming conscious of what they are consuming owing to the rise in health issues at younger ages and the problem of obesity. Adding to this is the persuasion of the media, which only showcases people with toned figures, pushing people to cut down on anything that might cause them to pile on extra weight.

A lot of well established restaurants and diners would still not mind serving the regular breadbasket, but the immense wastage due to repeated returns is something they are unable to accept.

The evident case of a bad economy

Just recovering from one of the worst economic meltdowns of the modern times, restaurants are trying to regain profits equivalent to those earned in pre-recession times. According to Pain D’ Avignon’s General Manager Mario Mariani, almost 15 percent of restaurants have started charging money for breadbaskets while there is a significant decrease in the amount of bread that is being ordered from them.

For some small restaurants, eateries and start-ups eliminating breadbaskets is a necessity these days. The rising costs of procuring raw materials and processing breads is too much of a weight to carry.

Emerging trends

Most people associated with the food industry, including diners look upon this new trend with mixed feelings. Yes, the customary free breadbaskets are being missed, there are new fares that are taking its place. Chefs are driving themselves to concoct healthier fares in a wide range of flavors to keep customers happy.

There are many diners who would dislike paying a couple of dollars for just bread, but are willing to overlook the cost for something healthier. “Giant Haus Bretzel” and “Brot Basket” featured on the menu of Bronwyn make for an excellent execution of the plan.