Restaurateurs and chefs are using “menu engineering” to fight the credit crunch and keep prices down. As a result, diners should expect to see smaller portions, with more potato dishes and less rice on the menu, and the salad garnish disappearing or being downgraded. John Lederer, managing director of Brasserie Blanc, says he is keeping a close eye on prices. He recently asked chefs to find an alternative to shallots after the cost of them soared 400%. Searcy chief executive Duncan Ackery admits he is already cutting meal sizes and finding cheaper cuts of meat. Jamie Barber, who runs the trendy Villandry and Hush restaurants in London, has removed chateaubriand from the menu and replaced fillet steak with ribeye. Lobster is also off the daily menu and is only served as a midweek special. Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, believes the industry is well placed to weather economic difficulties. He says people have got into the habit of eating out and will continue to do so although “they will just be more careful”. The Times 12/07/08 page 7