Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Night Food - A Weekly Event For Many

I am writing this on Friday afternoon and within the next couple of hours, thousands of people in my city will be heading out to their favorite restaurants to stand in line and wait to eat. Every city I’ve lived in has this “Friday Night Event”, so I am pretty sure that it happens nationwide. Six days per week it would be easy to visit any of these restaurants, walk in the front door, be seated immediately and get served food within a matter of minutes. Why is it that most families seem to eat out at restaurants more on Friday night that any other night of the week?

I believe some of it has to do with tradition. Families have followed this “end of the week” activity for many generations. I think it might go back to a time when most people performed jobs with their hands and the work they did on a daily basis was so tiring that all most of them wanted to do was get home after work. Monday-Thursday was built around keeps ones strength up so they could finish out their week at work, even though many of their bodies were telling them to stop. On Friday night, many people did not have to rise early the next morning for another day of hard work and giving themselves a special treat of a visit to a good restaurant on Friday night was something millions of people looked forward to all week.

Another reason restaurants are so busy on Friday nights have to do with the financial factor. I think most people are paid on Friday’s. I can’t prove this, but just from plain old ordinary observation, I have found that folks who are paid weekly or biweekly are most often paid on Friday. I think it makes sense for people to take a small amount of their earnings and reward themselves on payday. What better way to do that than to cash your paycheck and spend a little bit of that pay periods money on a good hot meal that no one living in you house had to prepare? Without some kind of “reward system”, some jobs can become almost unbearable over the years because of boredom.

Whatever the real reason why most people prefer to “eat out” more on Friday nights than any other night of the week, the restaurant owners don’t seem to mind. These huge Friday night crowds seem to allow them to hire additional workers for this one night per week, so their customers don’t have to wait too long, get discouraged and walk out the front door and go somewhere else. In the past three or four years there has been an explosion of new restaurants opening here in the Waco, Tx area. While our population is going up, it is not growing enough to support all these new national chain restaurants. It is nice, though, to have more rather than fewer choices when eating out.

I think locally here in Waco, many national restaurant chains first started noticing our city after President Bush was elected to office in 2000 and he started traveling to his home in Crawford, Tx many times during his two terms as President of the United States. There is no doubt that our small city of about 150,000 people does expand on the weekends when President Bush visits here and I worry sometimes if many of these new restaurant chains will go out of business once the President’s term in office is concluded in 2008? Well, I have no control over that and my wife and I are just going to enjoy all the new choices in dinning out in the mean time. However, when my wife and I eat out we try to buck the “Friday Night” trend. We much prefer some other night of the week when we don’t have to wait so long to be seated. I guess we are growing too impatient in our older years!

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