Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Many Problems of the Restaurant Industry Part 2: The Current Economic Model of the Restaurant

Or How Good People Become Dickensian Villains

This can be a fairly controversial topic. I believe that although there are many just plain ignorant and evil restaurant/bar owners out there; there are also people who start out as good folks with a dream to make good food and drink who slowly turn into the soulless restaurant overlords that we all love to hate. The thing here is what changes them is the established model of the restaurant industry. It starts far away from the restaurant doors and slowly builds to a tidal wave. These starry eyed new restauranteurs may have all the best intentions in the world, but eventually the wave catches up and they must decide whether they will drop those good intentions and hop on the wave in order to survive as a business or let the wave consume them and their silly ideas of a good workplace and quality ingredients. This topic will end up as a series of posts detailing this unstoppable "wave" that I'm talking about. Below is a summary of it.

The Supply (and its middlemen): Food Purveyors, Liquor Companies, and Miscellaneous Wholesalers.
The Demand: The perceived value of food and service, PR Firms, seasonal business, fad's and celebrity.
Hidden Costs: Thievery, Waste, Breakage (Q-Factor), Fines, Licensing, Repairs, Equipment.
Overhead: Rent, Utilities, Dry Goods, Repairs and Maintenance, Taxes, Insurance etc

Other fun things: The talent pool, competition, customers and mediocrity.

By the end you will wonder how anyone could possibly be so batshit crazy to even try and open a restaurant. BUT there is an answer for some it is an inescapable passion and a dream, for some naive people it looks like an easy cash cow and for the evil bastards out there it is a way to power in their petty little world. The first group of people are the only ones that matter to me, and I want to see them succeed.

First we will talk about something that screws many restaurants before they are even conceived, The Supply.

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