Restaurants are in the dark about daylight savings

Plus, Restaurant Rewind looks at past efforts by full-service operators to enter the drive-thru business.

Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to agree on what time of day it is, much less a proposal that would affect every American household. Yet an equally split U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill last week to adopt daylight savings time nationwide for all 12 months. The measure is likely to fly through the House of Representatives and almost certainly be signed into law by President Biden.

And why not? The benefits sound as wholesome as parenthood and apple pie—a way to provide America’s hard-working families with a few more hours of sunlight together. But as this week’s edition of Restaurant Rewind reports, there’s a dark side to the situation for restaurants.

As earlier efforts to extend daylight savings time have revealed, there’s another motive to pushing clocks forward for an hour on a permanent basis. Vested interests know the shift would provide families with more time to cook and eat a special meal at home. Mom and dad’s main alternative might be to use their kitchen, but the move also has the potential to keep families grilling in lieu of eating in a restaurant.

This week’s Restaurant Rewind looks back at an earlier effort to extend daylight savings and what the barbecue-supplies business said back then about how families’ share of stomach might shift.

The installment also looks at how casual dining’s current infatuation with drive-thrus is actually an echo of bold moves to diversify into that format more than 30 years ago. It proved not to be a current with staying power.

Learn how that little-remembered development presaged the current grab-and-go charge by downloading Restaurant Rewind from wherever you get your podcasts.

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