Can Perfection Survive at $32 Per Person?

On Sunday, The New York Times published a profile of superstar chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud, but it wasn't in the section that you might expect. The excellent piece was on the front of Sunday Business, the beginning of a 3,000-word examination of his company's string of financial successes. Boulud's new venture, the article said, was his most brazen yet: a casual brasserie called DGBG that arrives as the economy shows no signs of a quick recovery:

By Dinex Group's [Boulud's restaurant management company] own calculations, DBGB must generate $4.5 million a year in revenue to be profitable, not easy in a time that a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association called "the most challenging the restaurant industry has seen in several decades." A consumer marketing firm, NPD, issued a report a few weeks back stating that national restaurant traffic had dropped for a second consecutive quarter.

When Food Channel curator Corby Kummer dined at one of Boulud's restaurants, he was focused on the food and service, not the company's bottom line. On that count, the flagship Daniel amounted to nothing short of "perfection," he wrote:

Its singular achievement is to serve what is on any day likely to be the best food in the best dining city in the world with an attitude implying that diners eat this well so often that it doesn't bear mentioning.

The big question facing Mr. Boulud now is how close he can get to perfection with a $32-per-head price point, and whether it will be close enough.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Health

Just In