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  #1  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Restaurant in trouble

Me and my wife walked up to the door of one of our favorite restaurants, Best Friends, to get dinner, and were greeted with the following hand-printed sign....

"Due to current economic conditions, we will be reducing our hours effective Oct. 1st. to 6 am to 3 pm Sunday to Monday. Full menu will still be available."

We have enjoyed this family owned restaurant since they opened more than 15 years ago, but even we have noticed fewer patron at dinner time in the recent months. Admittedly, since we became "empty nesters" back in January, we tend to cook more dinner meals at home, but still eat out at least 1-2 times per week. I certainly hope this is not the beginning of the end for them. I think Homecook also enjoys this restaurant.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

It looks like they've only eliminated two dinner services. Unless it's a touristy type of place, sunday and Monday are normally the slowest dinner nights. If they've only eliminated two dinners I wouldn't worry all that much. All the electricity has to be cranked, the ovens are all on, the gas is up, the staff has to be paid, food is prepped. If the sales don't at least cover those expenses, it's a wise move to close.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

Good point Vera. Lots of the locally owned restaurants around here close all day Monday. While I don't like that I understand it's a business decision. Sure makes work schedules easier to manage when everyone gets that one day off.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I've been thinking of closing Monday, myself. Not being a year old yet, I'm still trying to compile the numbers. Right now, we're closed Sunday only. This past sunday we opened because there was a Saint's home game. I did a great business. Now, though...Lou and I haven't had a day off in 10 days and we still have 3 more to go before we do. I see a big drop in business on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I'm thinking of opening on Sundays and closing one of the week days. It's a tough decision because on one hand I have business people who come in M-F and on the other hand I have tourists who are here Th - M...
Tough call
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
Me and my wife walked up to the door of one of our favorite restaurants, Best Friends, to get dinner, and were greeted with the following hand-printed sign....

"Due to current economic conditions, we will be reducing our hours effective Oct. 1st. to 6 am to 3 pm Sunday to Monday. Full menu will still be available."

We have enjoyed this family owned restaurant since they opened more than 15 years ago, but even we have noticed fewer patron at dinner time in the recent months. Admittedly, since we became "empty nesters" back in January, we tend to cook more dinner meals at home, but still eat out at least 1-2 times per week. I certainly hope this is not the beginning of the end for them. I think Homecook also enjoys this restaurant.
You reminded me of a show I like on FN, Restaurant Impossible, with Robert Irvine. We don't know all the circumstances for their decision, but here's a form they could submit, if they would like to participate. Just a thought.

http://www.restaurantimpossible.com/

There are also recipes from some of the shows:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/restauran...ble/index.html

If you've never seen it, the show airs tonight at 10 pm/9 central.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

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Originally Posted by CaliforniaCook View Post
You reminded me of a show I like on FN, Restaurant Impossible, with Robert Irvine. We don't know all the circumstances for their decision, but here's a form they could submit, if they would like to participate. Just a thought.

http://www.restaurantimpossible.com/

There are also recipes from some of the shows:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/restauran...ble/index.html

If you've never seen it, the show airs tonight at 10 pm/9 central.
They have no problem with the restaurant, it's products or its people. They have a traffic problem that's forcing them to take this action. At one time they were a 24 hour restaurant, but two years ago they went to 6am to 11 pm., and now even further reductions. We have a city of 50,000+ residents, so it's not that there are enough people to sustain business, it's that the people are going out less and less. I guess I would do the same if business dropped off.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I think these days many many restaurants are hurting as more & more people pull back from spending unneccesarily.

Hubby & I visited our hands-down favorite Asian restaurant last week (fastastic sushi/sashimi, Japanese, & Chinese fare - better than NY!), & we overheard the chef/owner talking to someone sitting at the sushi bar. He said that if business doesn't pick up soon, he's going to be in trouble re: staying open. We've noticed the past few times we've been there that, apart from the Chinese New Year, the place hasn't been full - even on Friday/Saturday nights. We eat there frequently, but obviously can't camp out there to save his business. But boy, we'd surely miss the place if it closed.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I think the problem is more widespread than just restaurants. People in general are cutting back.

As Vera said, there is a base cost to being open, wether or not you are making money.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I have a few restaurants that rent storage places from us. One has raised it prices 6 times this year just to keep up with the low volume of business. Now being someone that hates to go out to dinner and much prefer home cooking I do visit 3 local restaurants regularly. All 3 of them tend to always be crowded every time we go.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

JoeC, I'd bet that the price raises aren't to fill the gap due to slow business, it's to cover the ever rising costs of simply operating. Every time I turn around, the price of dairy, produce, meat, fish and poultry is going up.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I used to visit a restaurant that I really liked. It was good food and good service. I really did not notice ad the customers thinned out. Then one day, it was gone.

If you like a business, ant business. Please be sure to patronize them as much as you can so the can be there when you want them.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

what gets me is the great little family owned places with really really great food are the first ones to go bellyup & those crappy chains are popping up everywhere.With folks standing in lines to get in.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I agree. We've lost so many good little spots around here. And I mean really really good - like better than big-city fare. Lost a fabulous little French place last year, a wonderful upscale Italian spot the year before, & now our local fabulous Japanese/Chinese spot apparently has its back against the wall. And we ate at & thus supported these places frequently.

Part of the problem with our wonderful Asian place is that Culpeper, VA, plays host to SEVEN Asian restaurants - Chinese, Japanese, & Thai - so in this economy, it's not surprising that some or all of them are having problems. I mean, there's only so much Asian food to spread around. And out of the above, only two or three get consistently high marks, yet those seem to be the ones in the most trouble.

I'm going to be REALLY upset if everything closes except for the chains. I mean, there's nothing technically wrong with a turkey burger at Ruby Tuesday, but it sure doesn't hold a candle to "Mustard Shrimp" or a "Sashimi Platter", or perfectly cooked "Biftek Frites".

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Old 09-29-2011, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

Breezy your post reminds me of the movie Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone...the only restaurant to survive the 'restaurant wars' was Taco Bell. As a result, the only restaurant anywhere was a Taco Bell.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

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Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
As a result, the only restaurant anywhere was a Taco Bell.
At which point, I'd make like Dennis Leary did... and move into the sewers, too.

(And I still like Taco Bell for a quick snack now and then)
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

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Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
JoeC, I'd bet that the price raises aren't to fill the gap due to slow business, it's to cover the ever rising costs of simply operating. Every time I turn around, the price of dairy, produce, meat, fish and poultry is going up.
I'm sure that is part of it Vera but the one I spoke to also said business has been slow of late also. I know we raised our prices this month and occupancy went down from 89% to 80% but that is to be expected. If occupancy doesn't come back by December then we will reevaluate it. Our prices are pretty much set by two towns Nicholasville and Lexington. We average both locations and set our price at the average of both.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

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Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
I see a big drop in business on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I'm thinking of opening on Sundays and closing one of the week days. It's a tough decision because on one hand I have business people who come in M-F and on the other hand I have tourists who are here Th - M...
Tough call
Can you have a specialized lunch menu as to not have much waste and is easy to prepare?

Regarding restaurants in general, my area has become saturated with places to eat. I can't even keep track. Everyone and their Mother make sushi nowadays, and most of it is chum. I see alot of fusion going on too. So the menu will have everything from mac n cheese to ahi tuna.

Good ingredients cost alot of money. This is what separates a good restaurant from a great restaurant. But people want $10.99 steak dinner and free desert.

We love the little French place down the street from us, but they also have changed their ingredients. You would start with some nice crusty bread with huge air pockets and herb/garlic infused dipping oil that would make you salivate. now, the bread is like the cheapest baguette you can find and there's no flavor to the oil. They are in trouble, I know it. I just hope I can get one last serving of their cassoulet before they shut down.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by High Cheese View Post

Good ingredients cost a lot of money. This is what separates a good restaurant from a great restaurant. But people want $10.99 steak dinner and free desert.
You really hit the nail on the head, I think.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

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Originally Posted by Ronjohn View Post
At which point, I'd make like Dennis Leary did... and move into the sewers, too.

(And I still like Taco Bell for a quick snack now and then)
Rat burger anyone? LOL I LOVE that movie!!
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

After the stock market tumble of 2008 we were losing a restaurant a week in SW Florida.

Up here in Wisconsin I see reduced business at the several restaurants within three blocks of my apartment but so far none have closed. I keep my fingers crossed for them all and for better business when the economy starts to pick up
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

Regarding the 10.99 steak dinner and free dessert....I hear ya.. When I made my original menu I decided to offer a choice of a side with most of the sandwiches. The sides available are macaroni salad, cole slaw, potato salad, fresh cut fruit, chips or fries. So, now....no one ever ever buys a side order of any of those choices. There is no need to. I buy all those ingredients to just give away. It was a huge mistake because it's costly. The bag of chips costs me about 20cents. The fruit costs me almost a dollar. The mayonaisse salads cost me about 50 cents, as do the fries. That may sound like very little...but if you make 25 sandwiches that take a side of fruit that's 25 dollars I didn't make.
When my new menu comes out, in addition to about a dozen new items that will be available, all sandwiches will come with chips and a pickle. If the guest wants fries or fruit or cole slaw, they'll have to buy it. Over the 15 months we've lived here and the almost year the restaurant has been open, Lou and I have had the opportunity to have some sandwiches from all sorts of places. Not a single one of them even give the chips. I'm hoping no one sees it as Red Gravy being in trouble...it's just good business to stop giving food away. I want to still be able to buy fresh ciabatta bread from the great bakery around the corner; I want to still roast my own turkeys; I want to still whip my own cream for the waffles; etc.. I buy fresh chicken breasts, bread and fry them myself for our chicken parm. If someone needs a free side order of macaroni salad in order to appreciate the great price and flavour of the chicken parm then I'll never please that person anyway.
Anyway, my point is to all consumers who dine out - Would you rather have that 2 for 1 deal that serves you below par products or would you rather dine out just a little less and get fresh well prepared food?

Before Katrina there were 800 restaurants in the greater New Orleans area. As of last month there were approximately 1225. The population of New Orleans is no bigger and tourisim is just about now what it was pre Katrina. So, what does that tell you?? Almost twice as many choices for people to spend their disposable income without an increase in people. In other words, the same amount of money is being spread around to almost double the amount of restaurants.
Even if you cannot frequent your favourite restaurants as often as you like...review them positively on places like Urban spoon, yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. Tell people about the places you like. Be free press, because, frankly, the cost of advertising is astronomical.

Okay....
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Restaurant in trouble

I'm a "Yelper", & definitely "yelp" my favorite places up the wazoo. In fact, I've yelped our favorite place - "Dragon Chef" in Culpeper - up the wazoo. Folks probably think I live in the back or something - lol!
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