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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Eating in hotels ~ Ernst Engel's law


How tough is  an interview ?  – Management experts would suggest tips on ‘confident approach’ to any interview that would include - getting prepared, neatly dressed for the occasion, body language, learning current affairs and more .. .. remember in my interview for GIC Typist,  I was asked ‘Engel’s law’ – in cinema it would be : 

Q :Where is Nicaragua ?   A:  I cannot see !

Q:What is the height of LIC ?A:none has invented a scale long enough  to measure it

Q : How many steps did you walk up the stairs to get into this room ?  A:  the same no. of steps that I would be walking down. 

~ that way, the interview scene of ThilluMullu, Rajni – Thengai Srinivasan was quite hilarious. 

Have you heard of - Ernst Engel, a German statistician and economist, and his  famouslaw !.....what sort of a person are you – how do you relish your lunch.  Eat alone enjoying your food, eat fast of whatever is provided by your company or spend time talking with your preferred friends !  

For millions of people – lunch the highlight of their day, which otherwiseis  marred by monotony, irritation or stress.  People work to eat…… for many the lunch is the main food, though South Indians would prefer to have big sumptuous morning meal.  There are some studies though, which reveal that the cost of buying lunch is much higher – more than what they realise on items such as takeaway coffees and gourmet sandwiches. Natural that hotels, mess and eateries make brisk business. 

Sri Parthasarathi vilas, a famous mess in Thiruvanaikka 

One study states that Americans go out for lunch on average twice a week and spend $10 each time. That means they’re spending $936 annually.  That amount is higher for men who outspend their female counterparts by 44%.  Down in India, there was a time when most people in Madras preferred bringing lunch box from home – a few of them, used to carry meals in tiffin-carriers.  In the crowded metropolis of  Mumbai inhabited by people of various cultures, people prefer having the meals made at home [with love and affection by their mothers and spouses] rather than eating outside at hotels….. getting back home for lunch is no option at all – going by the distance that people travel and the transport facilities available.. the trains are crowded and people do start rather early in the day for work…  they are well and truly served by  ‘dabbawalas’ -  a big, neat, well organized business 

In UK, some rush to work having just sandwiches for breakfast, the  stomach rumble cannot be ignored when it is time for lunch.  The opportunity, perhaps, to delve into a work bag to pull out a lovingly crafted risotto or the leftovers of last night's curry.The result, according to research reports BBC, is an annual lunch bill of £667 a year, or £830 for those working in London.This simple choice may actually be a fairly decent indicator of how well off people are feeling and of consumers' changing tastes, experts say. 

In Chennai, about a decade ago, hotels introduced ‘quick lunch’ and ‘quick tiffin’ bunching sometimes together, which are a great hit in chain-hotels like SaravanaBhavan,  Hot Chips, VasanthaBhavan, Sangeetha – as people prefer ordering them instead of tucking into alacarte items. There are still many, who would prefer the traditional ‘full meals’ – branded as South Indian, North Indian, Maharaja thalis !  

Engel’s law in Economics, is a theory that as income rises, the proportion of income spent on food falls, even though the actual expenditure on food increases.  Engel's law doesn't imply that food spending remains unchanged as income increases: It suggests that consumers increase their expenditures for food products (in % terms) less than their increases in income. One application of this statistic is treating it as a reflection of the living standard of a country. As this proportion or "Engel coefficient" increases, the country is by nature poorer, conversely a low Engel coefficient indicates a higher standard of living. 

Ernst Engel [1821-1896] was a German statistician and economist, famous for the Engel curve and Engel's law.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Dec 2021.


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