Financial Focus: I’m Hungry! Where’s the Local Diner?

Anthony RivieccioFinancial Focus: I’m Hungry! Where’s the Local Diner?
By: Anthony C Rivieccio, PFA, MBA
Do you remember a time when you wanted a cheap nice quality breakfast for under $4 to start your day?

Do you remember stopping off with the family to have a nice quiet family chat while sharing an alternative family style dinner?

Or do you just remember stopping by the local diner and grabbing a hamburger and fries for $5?

There was a time when diners were America’s cheap dining out alternative in a quality setting serving food at a reasonable price. There was a time, up until the 1990’s, when you had to fight to get into New York diners as it seemed everyone wanted those $4 breakfasts before 11AM.

In 2015, a pancake and sausage breakfast is $5.50, a 37.5% increase. A hamburger and fries is now $8.50. A 70% increase!

What happened? Well, rising food and rent costs is what happened.

According to the New York City Department of Health, in the last 10 years, the number of diners fell from one thousand to 398 — a 60% drop.

The Real Estate Board of New York reports that rents have spiked 13% per year.

As far as food costs are concerned, forget inflation. Traditional diners have found it hard to beat street vendor food carts. Unlike brick and mortar diners, falafel and taco food carts don’t have the same overhead, namely rents, taxes, carting fees, furniture, waitresses, short order cooks, cashiers or rapacious landlords.

Of course, while food carts cannot provide full course meals, they offer cheap “on the go” meals for our fast paced work a day lives. A bacon and egg sandwich for only $1.50 beats a $5.50 diner bill and is a 73% savings.

So, in the last 20 years, we went from a time when we found a cheap but nice quality sit down breakfast for under $4 to start the day at the local diner. Today, we can still find that price–but lose the food quality and sit down time–at the local food cart?

On the bright side, if you plug in the $1.50 breakfast at the food cart versus the old $4 diner breakfast — you’ll save 60%.

Pricewise, it’s 1995 again.

As a financial advisor, I recommend that you grab your breakfast and lunch at the ubiquitous food cart, take it on the go, and save money.

But take that savings, invest it, have dinner at home–Twentieth Century style–with your mate and children, and bid adieu to the classic American diner.

Anthony Rivieccio is the founder & the CEO of The Financial Advisors Group, celebrating their 18th year as a fee only financial planning firm specializing in solving one’s financial problems. Anthony, a recognized financial expert since 1986, has been featured by many national and local media including: Klipingers Personal Finance, The New York Post, News12 The Bronx, Bloomberg News Radio, Bronxnet Channel 67 TV, The Norwood News, The West Side Manhattan Gazette, Labor Press Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, WINS 1010 Radio, The Bronx News and The Bronx Chronicle.

For financial inquires or assistance, Anthony can be reached at (347) 575-5045 or

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