Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's a Restaurant to do?

Times are hard, recession, depression, swine flu, it’s all a downward spiral. The press needed a break from pounding into us how bad the economy is, so luckily a flu pandemic was just the ticket. Stay home, don’t go out, avoid public places, close the school, just don’t spread that flu.
Well that’s just great. Restaurants are for the most part taking it on the chin during this recession, so why not give us the knockout punch and create a pandemic just to make sure America has another reason to stay home. Driving to the restaurant the other morning listening to the news, with its endless stats on how many have died how many are sick and how many probable cases are looming, I thought to myself… maybe I should just turn around and go back home... no wait can’t do that, who would open the restaurant? Besides I need the pay check. Trust me I feel very fortunate to be able to say that.
I live in a world that for the most part is never black and white. My world is the restaurant world and it’s painted in many shades of grey. My world is measured by 3% to 5% profit margins, and by rising costs that are all a result of this recession. The food I buy to prepare for you costs a lot more than 2 years ago. Yet because of the hard times, I can’t raise the prices just so that I can maintain the same profit margin I’m used to. I’m not talking getting rich here just maintaining the same margin is all I’m after. I watch fewer customers come in everyday, not because we don’t put out a great product, but because people are afraid. We're afraid that tomorrow will be worse than today; afraid that this pay check will be my last for a very long time. Afraid that our houses will be taken away from us. It’s all just too depressing, so stay home. You won’t catch the pig flu at home, and you won’t spend any money if you stay home, so that’s got to be the correct answer: STAY HOME!!!! By the way did I win anything for coming up with the right answer???
I don’t know about you but it really makes Americans look like a country of wimps, and damn it that’s just not right. I’ll take much less of a profit margin in order to serve good food to good people. You know share the wealth, extend a helping hand sorta thing. I’ll even come up with deals to entice the customer to come in. But come in we must start doing, or this recession will last even longer. Hello, we are a nation that lives by supply and demand. So I’m demanding you all to go out to eat at a restaurant, and support the only business I know and love. I don’t mean go out to micky d’s or the box, those so called restaurants are doing just fine during these rough economic times. Yep just fine, and also contributing to the on going obesity problem in this country. But hey I can feed my family of 6 for under $13. What’s a restaurant to do?

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