State of American Deli

arlington lunch

There seems to be a negative trend happening these days in to an iconic subset of the American food industry, the deli restaurant. Particularly in large cities, such as New York and LA, where there used to be thousands of these delis, now these numbers have been reduced dramatically. These places used to be thriving restaurants in the mid-twentieth century, particularly in big cities, but are now struggling due to a mediocre economy and changing consumption trends. Fortunately, in the Northern Virginia community, there are still some of these types of restaurants in business and ready to serve your favorite deli sandwiches and eats.

One factor contributing to the demise of these signature American restaurants is the consumption trend and dining preferences of the younger generation. These kids seem to be more into fast food than ever, preferring quick eat places like Chipotle and Shake Shack, which also have a reputation for quality. The relatively low prices of these meals and the fast nature of the service is what appeals to these kids. Many deli restaurants are sit down places and the prices can be expensive relative to fast food. This is in part due to higher food costs, such as record high beef costs, and high cost of leasing commercial space in bigger cities. In many of these deli restaurants, a pastrami sandwich meal can run north of twenty dollars when factoring in tip and tax.

Another negative factor is the extremely competitive nature of the food business. Theses days there are more restaurants than ever, with a seemingly unending number of options and types of food. There are new restaurants and eateries opening up on a new daily basis with new innovative concepts and philosophies. Delis are seen more as traditional and old fashioned, compared to some of the new cutting edge restaurants and fast food businesses opening up in recent times. Also for younger more health conscious consumers, the traditional deli offers comfort food that can be higher in fat and calories. Although the food may taste better, it may not be seen as a daily meal option.

As a response to this change in trend, some delis in the local community are making adjustments and offering more healthy options in addition to the traditional comfort food. According to Best DC Metro Food, one deli cafe in Arlington VA, Manhattan Cafe, offers salad, fresh fruit, soups and healthy buffet options on the menu. Although offering many sandwiches as a traditional deli, this cafe also offers healthier alternatives that appeal to a modern, more health conscious consumer. The prices for this deli café are also very competitive with the fast food offerings that younger people enjoy. Manhattan Cafe is one of the more affordable lunch time and breakfast establishments in Arlington VA.

This seems to be the typical pattern in business for industry wide trends to break old models of business, and the people who actually survive these changes are the ones who adapt to the new conditions and meet evolving consumer demands. This goes for the food industry and is particularly apparent in the tech industry. Dominant players today in these business spaces can be obsolete in no time at all if they are not constantly adapting and evolving to changes in the world.

Education in VA

Based on US News and Word Report, the top 10 high schools in Virginia are all located in Northern Virginia, and the majority of the top 20 schools in Virginia are as well. Additionally, the majority of these top schools appear to be concentrated in Fairfax County. This seems to be a byproduct of an excellent environment and community, an area with thriving businesses and great neighborhoods.

The top school in Virginia and one of the top schools in the country is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, located in Alexandria, VA. This schools admits its students based on test scores, academic record, and other merits, which is similar to the college application process. This allows the school to admit the top students in the area. The academic achievements and accomplishments of these students are well documented.

It seems that the type of student who thrives at Thomas Jefferson, a competitive and challenging academic boot camp, are those who are psychologically well prepared and driven for hard work and achievement. They have an advanced maturity at an early age to be able to manage their schedules, prioritize and focus on hard work, and plan for the future. Many of them are so well aware of their future plans that they have their university and career progressions already mapped out. Compared to the majority of high schoolers in the country, this is an extremely rare characteristic and represents a very small percentage of the population. These are students that demonstrate a maturity well beyond their years, fostered by either their parents or just through natural tendencies.

But aside from these top notch students, who could probably thrive on their own without too much guidance, the question is how effective is the American educational system for other bright students who find the current uncreative education system extremely demotivating. Let’s face it, the typical high school classroom consists of a teacher reading from a textbook the majority of the time, which any intelligent student could do on his/her own, making this exercise a complete waste of time. And when you combine all the classes and teachers doing this for an entire school year, you have several years of wasted time in a classroom where the amount of actual learning is minimal. This wasted time has a tremendous opportunity cost, because these same students could be spending these years developing skills or knowledge that could greatly benefit their futures.

Also, it is rare for one of these teachers to actual teach material in a way that can be related and applied to the real world, which is the key to engaging the interest of students who have the potential to learn and excel but are demotivated by the pointless nature of the typical classroom. When the only objective of a class is to memorize material in a textbook and take a test on this memorized material, it does not facilitate actual learning of the subject of study. What is required is an emphasis on why the field of study is important in the real world, how knowledge learned can be applied, and how learning this information will benefit oneself and allow one to achieve goals in the real world. This is how you motivate those who have the capacity to excel but don’t have a worthwhile purpose.

However, it remains to be seen whether there is any incentive for a major overhaul in the American education system. Improving the quality of the education system would require effort and resources for training teachers and improving curriculums. And of course, education is only a priority for politicians in name and not in actual practice. Although the United States can boast to have the most brilliant business people, scientists and innovators in the world, its educational system unfortunately has a mediocre ranking compared to other countries. This is why the students who have the greatest advantage are the ones who have the parents with the expertise to guide them to excellence.