Is It Really the Economy?

This morning I was reading through Twitter, which my wife says is now an addiction, and came across an article that said Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc., had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Most of you probably have been to a local Marie Callender’s for Sunday brunch or even to pick up a pie.  Whether it was your choice or you were dragged there you don’t have to say.  I thought back to my last experience there and remembered how horrible it was.  We went with a group of people who had made a reservation for the back room at the Shaw and Cedar location.  I remember everything there being dated, the flooring and walls were dirty, and the overall decor was dingy.  It was in major need of an update.

But the decor wasn’t really what bothered me.  After all, some of my favorite places are very basic and simple.  As a matter of fact, some of the best places are mounted on a trailer or served out of a mosquito net at the local swap meet.  It should come as no surprise that it was the FOOD that really made the impression.  Unfortunately, the food made the wrong impression.  You see the article stated that the bankruptcy was blamed on a poor economy, a lack of revenue to upgrade restaurants, and rising food costs.  But really what’s hurting Marie Callender’s is how poor the food is.  The food is what’s in need of an overhaul, not the companies debt load.

Of course, I don’t expect the C.E.O to say that, but that’s what I see as the main problem.  As @dkzody said in our Twitter conversation that helped inspire this post, even the pies are no longer good.  She reminded me though that long ago the food was actually good.  Sometimes corporate goals tend to overlook quality and freshness and those things become a thing of the past.  Do you really think Marie Callender herself would ever approve of canned pie fillings?  I don’t think so.

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5 Responses to Is It Really the Economy?

  1. dkzody says:

    Back in the 70s, Marie Callender made a wonderful hamburger called the Frisco Burger, made on French bread. They served it with fries and a small pot of apple pie filling (real apples). It’s still on the menu, but does not taste all that good any more. The meat no longer even fits the bread. Fail.

  2. dave says:

    Let’s not forget about the poor service!! I cannot remember ever going to a Marie Calendars and being served promptly. They are typically waaaay understaffed and I can recall waiting 20 minutes to get a table when there was no one else waiting! Then another 20 or so before we even saw our server, another 10-20 before we were able to place our order, etc.. I’ve easily waited over an hour for food!
    The first time that happened I thought it was just a bad day or whatever but then it happened again at a different location. In fact, on several occasions and at several different locations this has been the case; Pasadena, Glendale, Fresno, The location near Magic Mountain, all over California.
    I always suspected it was policy to save money by under staffing and had it confirmed when I just asked someone I knew who had worked there. She said they were always responsible for a huge amount of tables and that’s why it took so long to get everyone taken care of. Check other online reviews, so many talk about horrible service. I think that is what did it.
    And the food is very sub-par too. Worst French Onion soup I’ve ever had.
    Love the pies though, maybe they should just be a take-out pie shop and leave it at theta, I think the pies have been carrying the restaurant for a while not anyway.

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