It’s Friday in Wine Country…the grape harvest is almost in full swing The trucks, loaded with empty bins await, and the vineyard workers are prepared to begin the harvest at any moment. This year’s crop looks plentiful. The air has a slight aroma of Cabernet.
And, just like expensive Cabernet sales,
Some restaurants have taken the knock harder than other’s. Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, which has stirred more controversy than sauce in this wine country hamlet, has closed for lunch. She is attempting to pull the spaghetti-gone-Appalachia concept out of its downward spiral by plastering shack-styled paper signs on buildings around town advertising live music. Where was the city council when they approved this restaurant?
To say Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack doesn’t fit the image of
Once a restaurant opens, it is difficult to execute the remaining tidbits of concept development as the stress from the struggle becomes overwhelming.
Eventually, those of Emmy’s ilk will realize a big plate of soggy food with acidic sauce in a dilapidated setting is barely running a restaurant. The bad news: the guy who was holding the open sign in the middle of Broadway as tourists drove into town during lunch has to find a new gig.
In a shack concept such as Emmy’s, it is imperative the kitsch doesn’t glitch and morph into a combination of misguided concept development. When you display hand written paper signs on buildings around town people wonder if it’s concept, funding, or style.
When your hours of operation sign hangs on the door and is written in a black marking pen customers are confused as to whether it is a matter of taste or haste.
When there are a combination of chairs in the front yard that shout “moving out or moving in” instead of “enjoy our patio”, the message to the public is mixed. And so is their reaction.
I apologize to those who feel my brashness is directed at Emmy. It isn’t. Culinary failure is a situation many who place there toes in the restaurant business pool experience but only few survive. Some people do not belong in the deep end of that pool. To succeed in the restaurant business there are basic foundation building steps everyone needs to take. I have preached it before: It is the easiest business in the world to get into, the hardest to get out of, and the one who captures your heart and money the fastest.
But the business is a numbers game. Eventually lack of customers, patrons, friends, and followers will dry up for any underperforming restaurant. Business will shrivel and one day the last rights of restaurateuring -the final drink at the bar- will be performed.
The occurrence will not be good for the space. It will need to be remodeled at a considerable price. The town will be slightly tarnished because of a closed business, and other businesses suffer from that.
Closing what once was a dream is not an easy task. Those of us who have been there know the ramifications are life changing. Losing a nest-egg, investor’s money and the funds of friends, family and fools is difficult to grapple with. The only way, for many, to alleviate that pain, anxiety, and turmoil is to open another restaurant, with a different concept and hope that the numbers work well enough on the second concept to recoup the losses from the first concept.
Now there’s something to look forward to.
Have an enjoyable weekend.