A celebrity chef told a gaggle of CNN hosts last week that restaurant customers are foreshadowing that “we’re on the brink of some really bad economy here.”
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay appeared Friday on “CNN This Morning” and spoke to hosts Kaitlin Collins, Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow. He said from what he sees in his restaurants, lean times are on the way.
That’s a view shared by experts, including Wharton Business School professor Jeremy Siegel.
If interest rates remain where they are into next year, Siegel told Insider in an interview last week, the country is looking at an even worse economic situation than the one that followed the 2008 housing market collapse.
It will “cause the second-worst collapse of the housing market in the post-war period,” Siegel told Insider. “Housing prices, from their peak, are going to go down 10 percent to 15 percent. If they continue this up higher, it’s going to get even worse.”
Siegel also said that policymakers committed “gross negligence as a steward of our monetary system” by doing too little too late to address inflation.
“They exploded the money supply in 2020. When did we start really seeing inflation? The end of 2021. Now, we are only six months into the tightening cycle. And they’re saying, ‘Oh my God, it’s not working. It’s not working. We’ve got to keep on hiking.’ I’m flabbergasted.”
Flay said restaurants illustrate how that translates into everyday life.
Chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay: “The thing about restaurants is it’s an every-night focus group of how people are feeling about the economy.”
“Getting squeezed from every sort of corner and edge…We’re on the brink of some really bad economy here…seen this happen before.” pic.twitter.com/lAn5kullkd
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 4, 2022
“The thing about restaurants is, it’s an every-night focus group of how people are feeling about the economy. And what’s happening is it’s getting squeezed from every sort of corner and edge,” he said.
“Labor’s expensive, commodities, meaning, you know, the cost of goods, food, etc. is expensive. And of course, occupancy cost is always expensive. The landlords never, like, look out for you. They’re always – they have very deep pockets and they’re not gonna – they don’t take the pressure off,” he said.
Flay said that in addition to their personal circumstances, Americans are aware of the wider economic news.
“On the other side of it, I think the consumers are feeling the pressure as well because they turn on the TV, they look at social media and they understand that, you know, we’re on the brink of some really bad economy here,” he said.
“And so people, they tighten their wallets,” he said.
The body language of the hosts — particularly Lemon — was easy to read. Clearly, they were uncomfortable with Flay’s message — and the implications it had for the Democrats in control of the U.S. government heading into Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Harlow asked if Flay agreed with Americans’ concerns about the economy.
“I do,” he replied.
“Listen, unfortunately, I’ve been around long enough to see this happen before and ultimately we’re able to come out of it but you do have to hold on tight. I feel like something not good is happening. I mean, you look at all the reports and I watch what people – the way people are acting in the restaurants.”
“So the person that, you know, last week was buying a $75 bottle of wine, maybe this week it’s a $40 bottle of wine. They’re making decisions that are actually squeezing the check averages in the restaurants,” he said.
“And so you understand exactly that, you know, it makes it very, very difficult. On the other side of it, uh, the restaurateur, proprietor is having a hard time making profits,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.