The Girl and the Fig in
Each of these restaurants has closed for a brief spruce and freshen-up period from three days to four weeks. Now you may think this doesn’t make a lot of sense in light of the recent economy. But, it does make a lot of sense if the first weeks of January are the slowest you experience throughout the year.
Joe Rombi of La Mia Cucina pushes the envelope as he closes for the entire month for a personal spruce and freshen-up period. Rombi and his wife, Laurie usually head to the islands in the sun to enjoy sailing and snorkeling. However, Sondra Bernstein of the Girl and the Fig closes as does Philippe Jeanty in order to keep the sparkle of their properties sparkling.
The Swiss Hotel closes for a complete dining room refurbishing as Mike O’Leary and his crew take on the task of completely painting the restaurant interior.
For each of these successful restaurateurs it pays to close in order to maintain their high standards of cleanliness, sparkle, and polished ambiance. But of course, many restaurant owners would claim that they do not have the luxury to close. Wrong. Closing for a few days, or a week, or in Joe Rombi’s case- a month – is not only good for the ambiance and maintenance of the restaurant and the morale of the staff, it is also good for business.
Think about it. Times are slow in January and although it is not normally to shutter your doors, the perceived value of a cleaner, painted restaurant is a sign to your customers that you care about your restaurant and their dining surroundings.
Fade back to when you were first opening your restaurant. Although the doors were probably papered, and the place was strewn with chaos and confusion you couldn’t stop the “locals” from stopping by and inquiring about what was going to open.
A rapid fire closing and clean up creates the same type of buzz on a lesser scale. And, once you re-open your guests will stop in to see exactly what took place while you were closed.
Finally, nothing beats walking into a freshly painted, lights brightly shining, floor highly polished restaurant. Try it. If you’re lucky, customers, clients and friends will come in, scuff it, scratch it, spill on it, stain it and make it possible to look forward to that spruce up period next January.