Opening a new restaurant
Posted 15 January 2003 - 04:10 PM
Posted 16 January 2003 - 01:23 PM
It's no fun. But it has to end at some point. And it will.
Recessions aren't altogether bad. Some of the restaurants that were on their last legs anyway tend to end their businesses a little earlier than they otherwise would have. Some that are third or fourth tier within their niche also may close. But for many others, the choice is clear: improve or close. And so most improve. Last year, I'd say we worked five times as hard just to achieve the same or slightly better results as the previous year.
For what it's worth, here's my advice. Any restaurant conceived today will probably take another year or two to birth. Hopefully, the world will feel safer and the economy stronger by then. At the same time, I wouldn't open anything unless I was really passionate about the concept and menu. There are more dining room seats in NY by far these days, then there are bodies to fill them each night. Sadly, the dining world doesn't need another restaurant these days just to satisfy demand, so a new one had better add something to the dialogue on something. Be well-financed. Project 6 months of operational losses. Don't put too much money into a big-deal design or "stage set." More than ever, people want "real" and will avoid gimmicks. Genuine, food and warm hospitality will bring people back far more powerfully than decor.
Biggest factor to succeed: ability to attract, hire, and retain outstanding human beings for our staff.
Biggest factor to fail: inability to attract, hire, and retain outstanding human beings for our staff.