A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

For Christmas, I'd like a restaurant, darling...

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Most people have three dreams they would like to achieve in their lifetimes...

1-Travel the World,
2-Open a restaurant,
3-Write a book.

Writing a book is the one thing I am struggling with... But this is not about me.

It is about those good food enthusiasts who can afford to eat out at least twice midweek and love to entertain up to half a dozen friends on alternate Saturday nights.
And then, all of a sudden, a bolt of lightning strikes them and they decide to open a restaurant.

They look for the premises, negotiate, hire an expensive interior designer, import a French chef de cuisine, discover a sommelier at Oddbins, etc...

Homework? Of course, they like good food in great surroundings!
Location? A quaint little hamlet out in the sticks...

They have enough money to cover the unexpected extras!
The guy is an accountant. And you know how rich accountants and lawyers are!
The restaurant holds a launch evening for family and friends... The food and wine flow freely!
"Darling, this is the best meal I have had in ages!"
"My friend, you have here a bloody goldmine!"

In bed, they congratulate each other on a very successful evening! "We have cracked it! Everyone loved the food and wine!"

People out for a free lunch will tell you anything you wanna hear! It's a FREE LUNCH!

The following days, reality kicks in!

Customers fail to materialise and even those who happen to pop in are only after a quick snack, a cup of tea and a wee-wee!
The odd food guide inspector calls and falls in love with his own restaurant review while dissecting the pink Tournedos of Aberdeen Angus.
The prices are beyond the locals' modest pockets.
Not many people venture out from the city. That means a taxi each way.
Pascal turns out to be a drunken slob who downs a couple of bottles of Claret every night in the company of the Sommelier.
Mr. and Mrs. New Restaurant Owners begin to wonder why the restaurant is not successful. The expenses start mounting up!

Break even point? Gross profit margin? Wage percentage... Foreign language!

Pascal is replaced by the commis-chef. The Sommelier by the Tracy, the barmaid.

A few agonising weeks or months (if they are lucky) down the line,
the FOR SALE sign appears.

What could possibly have gone wrong??? You tell me!


Blogger Caroline said...

What went wrong? Let me guess - the dish ran away with the spoon...

15/10/05 6:11 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Caroline, you may have a point there! But I'll wait for more comments before I state the obvious.

15/10/05 7:39 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Cream - you've been tagged!

See my 20 random facts about myself to find out what is going on!

Tee Hee!

15/10/05 8:16 PM  
Blogger DCveR said...

Lack of realism, I'd say. Some places start too fancy for the place where they are, counting on clients to come from far away. I've seen that happening here in Portugal. Usually they close within a year.

15/10/05 11:25 PM  
Blogger cream said...

You are right, dcver!
Restaurants are a strange business to be in. With over 20 years in business I have come to believe the "location, location, location" thing...
But also that, it is not enough to love eating out to be able to run a successful restaurant.
I shall get back to this subject in the near future...
I still don't really know what it takes to be successful, I guess it may be 99% luck and 1% hard work.

16/10/05 12:02 AM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Budgetting, planning, marketing, and as Dcver says, the right restaurant for the right location.

I love this post, I'm fascinated by what makes or breaks a business.

16/10/05 12:39 PM  
Blogger cream said...

I am working on the update, GG.
I did not know it would take so long to understand what really makes a restaurant!

17/10/05 9:05 AM  
Blogger Caribbean Colors said...

I am really enjoying your blog, Cream. I moved 1 block north and what a difference. I had a good location before and have a great one now and it makes a huge difference. You would think that anywhere on this tiny island would be good, but there are so many factors in why people make choices, if one key ingredient is missing, you're fighting against the tide. I've seen some really smart people make crucial mistakes, and then there's me... I rely more on luck than planning.

20/10/05 3:28 AM  
Blogger cream said...

For some people luck is about analysing and feeling stuff without even thinking about it.

Sometimes you may think you have it sussed and then something insignificant happens and you are struggling!
Some smart people see things before they happen and change accordingly.

20/10/05 6:29 PM  

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