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Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by GUNNERX2, Jun 13, 2018.
Restaurants around here been closing because they can find anyone willing to work.
I’d wager more often than not folks that open a restaurant have a ton of experience in the INDUSTRY but not on the higher up levels. Ask around and a lot of the guys are former kitchen managers, shift managers, head cooks, bartenders, etc. Been around the biz long enough they figure by osmosis they’ve learned it all. After years of getting pizzed off by their owners and managers they think “screw this, I can do this myself and not have the bs, and pocket more money.” But it’s much, much easier said than done.
That’s like around here a lot of small 1-2 guy welding shops go belly up. Some guy welds for a factory for 10-15 yrs, gets fed up with “workplace politics” and strikes out on his own or with a buddy. Land of milk and honey right? Your own boss, your own hours....no one realizes just how much your nuts are on the chopping block when you’re your own outfit. Most here are shuttered inside 5 years.
I'll add that a couple of the failures were a bit off the wall in terms of cuisine. One attempt in the strip mall setting was "carnival food". Popcorn, hotdogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, etc. From the get go, I never saw that as a long term success, just a flash in the pan. At the stand alone place, one of the swings and a miss was "biscuit and bait". Literally, that was the name of the place. They were only open a couple of hours in the early morning selling breakfast biscuits and fishing bait. There wasn't a river or lake within 20 miles of the place, maybe a few farm ponds.
I had great hopes for the place when it was a bbq joint. The pulled pork was pretty good and I guess the brisket and ribs would have been good if they ever had any. Several times I stopped by and ordered ribs but they didn't have any 'cause they hadn't cooked any. I asked the owner's wife when would they have ribs and she said "when Kenny (owner) decides to cook some. She said if I wanted to pre-order some and if enough people pre-ordered he might cook some.
Too many friends thinking they are entitled to free meals; both of the owner and staff. Many restaurants fail because the profits walk out the back door. If a manager sits down once in a table service style restaurant in a 12 to 14 hour shift, especially during a meal run, they are not running the restaurant correctly.
And often the lack of marketing is due to lack of capital. "If you build it, they will come" only works if you can afford the cost of letting them know you built it.
I've been out of the business for about 25 years.
There are so many variables in the Restaurant business, that it is easy to fail. Your really need to be firing on all cylinders to be successful.
IMO, the biggest factors are sales, labor and rent.
as others have said in this thread, most of this younger generation doesn't feel the NEED to work. If they are on the schedule to work a Friday, or Saturday night, and they have a party, or something better to do, they simply don't show up. Most restaurants start their employees ( dishwashers, cooks, buss boys at $12-$15). for that wage, it is difficult to attract and keep good people ( except maybe hispanics). If you don't have a grip on things, your employees will steal you blind. If you have a bar, then its going to be10x worse.
Years ago, I was GM of an upscale, high volume, fine dining restaurant. Typically, in the restaurant business, a good measure of how you are doing ( any if there are any potential issues) is running your liquor cost %. Typically, at this restaurant, if liquor cost was 30%, it was pretty good. We ran our liquor cost each week. For a long time our cost were remarkably good,...but something didn't feet quite right. I started noticing that when a particular bartender worked, I would always find an ashtray behind the bar with a pile of unlit match sticks,...... which was odd. So one friday afternoon, I counted and weighed all of the liquor in the bar and liquor room ( under lock & Key) to run my weekly liquor cost. I had done this after lunch, and before dinner. So, my bartender show up for the dinner shift, and he is setting up the bar. I was in and out of there, but another bartender asked my to get some back stock ( liquor) for the night. When I did, I noticed that there was already probably 6 or 8 additional bottles of back stock of call liquor behind the bar. I checked the inventory in the liquor room, and on the sheet that I recored after lunch. It turned out, the bartender that I was already suspicious of was actually bringing in liquor to the restaurant. then, either with not ringing up drinks and collecting cash for..... or he was over pouring to regular bar patrons for bonus tip money. It was quite an enterprise, and he knew there wouldn't be any red flags because our liquor cost were always better than average. Of course I fired that guy on the spot
Another time, our meat costs ( also run weekly) were out of wack, and I suspected theft. I isolated it to cooks on a certain shift, but I wasn't clear on how they were stealing the meat. Our backdoors were alway locked, and were only opened by a manger with a key, but I suspected the meat was somehow going out the back door. So, After the friday night rush, I left the restaurant, and had my Assistant MGR close. After I left, a buddy of mine, and I set up lawn chairs on the roof, and drank a twelve pack while we watched the back door from above ( lying in wait to catch the thief ). At about 11:00, my assistant unlocked the backdoor and the dishwashers emptied several cans of trash into the dumpster. At about 11:15, the wife of one of my cooks pulled her car next the the dumpster, and pulled TWO WHOLE PRIME RIBS out of the trash. Of course, I fired him , too.
Then, there are people that steal glass ware, or toilet paper, and think that it is no big deal. But if you have 100 employees ( I had 115 at this particular restaurant) that stuff adds up fast.
the other issue with staff is that sometimes, the echelon of the people in the industry isn't always what you'd want it to be. Lots of these folks are good people, but If they are diving $1000 car, they can be less than dependable......I would find myself driving folks home after almost every shift.............. Some weekends, I would be bailing my cooks out of jail so that I wouldn't have to run a man or two short on the line.
Rent is crazy high. Back in 1991, the last restaurant that I ran, the monthly rent was $18K. you have to sell a lot of groceries to cover that nut.
These days, food trucks are so popular (with culinary guys) because the cost is relatively low relative to brick and mortar restaurants. There are also fewer employees ( if any). Food Trucks are also good for trying new concepts, and developing a regular clientele.
I think to have a successful independent restaurant, you really need to have a passion for the business. You need to be committed to working long hours ( & evening, weekends, and Holidays), and be happy doing so.
Burnout - running restaurant as a single owner location is likely at least a 6 day a week commitment, vacations are rare and your profit takes a hit everytime something bad happens. So while it sounded great and business plan looked good, reality is running a restaurant sucks.
Like I said......
If your don't thrive on working your nuts off 100 hours a week for months without a day off, it may not be for you.
its why I got out of the business........ Its been 25 years, but there are some parts of it I truly miss.
@bullpinnie Yep...almost the exact same theft situation. Service bartender screwing a waitress and they were screwing us. Meat in the dumpster...same situation. Waited watched and caught. Like I said...most restaurants fail what goes out the back door not from what doesn't come in the front door.
We had a line cook that "got pregnant" soon after she started. Started smuggling out smaller items then eventually worked up over several months to large clod meat we cooked for tacos and enchiladas. When someone said just by coincidence she was due anytime we realized she had been "pregnant" for about 10 months.
I loved it but it will work the legs out from under you. It's like trying to explain duck hunting to someone. If "you" have to explain...they won't understand.
Restaurants are very tough businesses to run. Margins are very slim even in the best run places (10-15% max) which leaves little room for error. There are almost no barriers to entry so competition could pop up across the street. There's very little pricing power and the owner has little bargaining power and is basically at the mercy of food suppliers (~1/3 of cost base), employees due to minimum wage and labor laws (~1/3 of cost base) and landlords (~10-20% of cost base).
Plus the revenue potential from a site is capped - you are limited in the amount of customers you can serve, particularly if it is a sit down place - only so many tables available and only specific hours customers want to eat.
As others have said it takes attention to detail in managing a restaurant to make it successful. Not the kind of business in which I'd like to invest.