Chef José Andrés’ newish Los Angeles restaurant, Bazaar, is all the things fine dining didn’t used to be—in a hotel, bar-centric, and focused entirely on small plates. It's also one thing few and fewer restaurants are now: profitable. It's the future, Katy McLaughlin predicts, for several reasons. First, the tapas menu is “a clever way around consumers' psychological barriers to restaurant spending,” McLaughlin writes. The relatively cheap small plates still bring the average check to $96.44.
Second, the money hotels can spend on flashy eateries trumps what standalone locations can raise, even in good times.“Getting that kind of money today for restaurants is impossible,” a restaurateur tells McLaughin, writing in the Wall Street Journal. “It'll never happen in our lifetime again.” And finally, by giving over significant space to the bar, Bazaar has boosted the holy grail of liquor sales to 35% of gross, far above the industry standard of 25%.