A couple of interesting data takeaways from this new Chronicle piece by Jonathan Kauffman all about the rising cost of eating out in San Francisco and the frequent often online public decrying of this:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, the cost of “food eaten away from home” in the Bay Area has risen 34.6 percent since 2006, showing a particularly steep spike since 2014 not surprising, considering that local minimum wages and commercial rents are mounting as well. The cost of food eaten out in the Bay Area is 6.9 percent higher than the average, topped only by prices in Dallas and Seattle.
Kauffman homes in on The Deli Board, where sandwich prices have risen from $11 to $15 in just a few years, and Marla Bakery, where customers have complained on the bakery's Facebook page about their $8 loaves of bread in truth only the challah is that much, and the rest around $5 and $2.50 bagels, saying that these are "gourmet gulch prices" in what's otherwise a "middle class and family area."
Marla Bakery co-owner Amy Brown counters that using good ingredients and making everything by hand "isn’t cheap and you are right, our prices our higher." But, she says, "We don’t do this to seem elitist, we do this because we think what comes from people’s hands tastes better than what comes from machines."
Kauffman argues, rightly that we shouldn't be railing against home-grown, artisan businesses like Marla or Bi-Rite, or Deli Board, or The Mill, or Una Pizza Napoletana and its $25 12-inch pizzas for that matter so much as we should be trying to preserve the diversity of our neighborhoods. Much like Marla Bakery is surrounded by much less expensive food options in the Outer Richmond, the public should appreciate that we can have artisan bread and special-occasion restaurants when we want, and also places you can still get a $1 cup of coffee and 75-cent doughnut. It doesn't have to be just one or the other the problem comes when the 75-cent doughnut gets pushed out by the $3 doughnut, because the city really does need both.