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Apr 16, 2008 01:52 PM

Cheering about a restaurant going out of business

I'm on an email list-serve for a local restaurant that was quite promising when it first opened about 3.5 years ago. Well, last week they announced they were closing their doors on April 10 (email came through only two days before that) and my husband and I cheered that it was closing... Going there when they first opened was fun, but the food and service steadily when downhill, as evidenced not just by our own experience, but many who posted on line as well.
Has anyone else ever cheered when a local upscale resto has closed it's doors? Are we just sickos?
We're really looking forward to a new great resto going into that space!

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  1. Not yet, but I will when one I loathe does.

    1. I wouldn't say you're "sickos", but you are looking at this from a rather self-centered perspective. You are happy that something you didn't care for has gone away and see only that part rather than the fact that people lost jobs and likely the unsuccessful owner lost money when the place failed. While he may have "deserved" to fail for not running a good enough place and failing to get patrons, that doesn't mean he (or she) is any less of a human being deserving compassion and sympathy for his failure rather than having someone take pleasure in his loss. What is a moment of smug triumph for you will likely be a bit soul crushing and possibly years of debt for the owner.

      I rarely delight in the failure of others unless they've personally harmed me in a tangible way, and even then I know it's a spiritual failure on my part to indulge in schaudenfreude. I'm not trying to be self-righteous here, but you asked this question which invited honest replies.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Orchid64

        I'd indulge in a bit of schadenfreude if the resto's demise was warranted, notwithstanding the obviously sad effect on the servers and kitchen staff. Here's an example: resto opens to deserved fanfare and full seats under original partnership, keeps up the quality for a few years, then the management situation changes because of disagreement over how to run the show and partnership disintegrates amid rumours of gray-area activity by the remaining owner, resto's quality and service plummet, long-time loyal staff are treated badly, new and old patrons are subjected to outrageously long waits and the now sole owner's response is... to do nothing, including not even apologizing to regulars, much less newbies. Bit o' glee here when that place shuttered, especially after the dozens of meals I'd eaten there and the many referrals I'd made to others to dine. I know the restaurant business is hyper-competitive but he had a good thing going and torpedoed it.

        1. re: grayelf

          So, if the restaurant owner had a good situation, but then made a mistake, or allowed others to make mistakes, we should applaud their failure? I've made my share of mistakes. I'd hate to think others were gleefully celebrating the consequences of my errors because I had showed poor judgment on occasion and suffered for it.

          If a place is bad, I think it's enough not to patronize them.

      2. What possibly could a restaurant do to someone that they take pleasure in people losing their jobs, investors losing their money, and others who may have enjoyed the restaurant can no longer enjoy. Could they not prepare your meal properly? Not apologized when you thought one was deserved? Ignored a request for a clean spoon? Let's take this all the way to giving you food poisoning? Jfood and other jfoods have contracted food poisoning from a restaurant and he would never want that restaurant to go under. He would never revel in the demise of any place of business to the detriment of owners, employees and customers. To be as kind as jfood can, those who cheer about a restaurant going out of business should be ashamed of themselves.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          I totally concur. A spoiled life-long dream and a wrecked life is nothing to be applauded. It's tragic. Many try; only some succeed.

          1. re: jfood

            As a former employee of a certain restaurant, I can tell you the things that made me quite chipper when the place went under. 1. Not being paid for training. 2. Not being paid on time, never knowing when we'd get paid. 3. Being told by the owner that he "Doesn't mind" my size (I was chubbier back then) and that his wife was the same size as I am, and he never left her. 4. Being forced to tip our managers because they served as bartenders when the real ones quit. 5. The owner not caring that when his friends come in and don't tip, we wound up paying out of our pocket for the tip share. 6. Being fired for pointing out these horrible practices. I could go on and on. I know this is particularly unethical, and I was a lot younger (19) and didn't know better. Now, this would never fly with me, but when I heard the news that they shut their doors a couple months ago, I knew they deserved it.

            1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

              Yes, the treatment of young ladies in many restaurants is despicable and all the itms you described are unethical and most probably illegal. What jfood sees, and very much commends you on, is the second to last word, "deserved". They alsolutely deserved it and you were "chipper" but you never crossed into cheering when, even this most unsavory person, lost it.

            2. re: jfood

              jfood: I think that's a little harsh. Doesn't it seem likely that a new restraunteur will come in soon (if there is truly a need for a restaurant there) and people will be hired, etc., etc. Don't good restaurants drive bad ones out of business?
              I can think of a scenario where there are not good restaurants nearby and the area cannot support that many. A bad one is there and you want a quality place that is convenient. I might cheer if I knew a good place was on the horizon....

              1. re: Scargod

                Jfood has two points to your response.

                1 - Long term - Having better restaurants is always the goal of a CH. Would jfood prefer the local Subway leaving and a nice Thai place opening, absolutely. Short term - There is a displacement of the work force. Does jfood want the people at the Subway getting fired, does he want the Franchisee to loose their money? Absolutely not. And one does not close on a Friday and re-open the following Monday. There is the conversion time in which people will suffer.

                2 - On the internal "cheering" point of the OP. Jfood does not believe he was harsh enough but wanted the post to stay so he toned it down. People who cheer the demise of a restaurant that cause people to loose jobs/money are (read above).

                And to your point of "where there are not good restaurants nearby and the area cannot support that many". The market forces are allowing that restaurant to stay open so some do not think it is bad enough to avoid. Should the market forces change and the restaurant closes and another opens, that is a economic event. The emotional event of cheering is the point of jfood's harshness.

                There but for the grace of God goes thee

                1. re: Scargod

                  Not harsh at all. When I first read the post I thought yeah I have been happy when a restaurant has closed; however, jfood's comments are timely as a recently defunct restaurant in my neighborhood was torn down this week. I thought about the all the restaurants that had been in that location over the years. In fact, several of my friends had their first bussing or waiting jobs in that bldg. Though not a trendy hip restaurant it had a lot of potential and couldn't help but think that if the place had been in the hands of someone more capable it would be a different story. Besides, with many area's economies it may be awhile until a new restaurant replaces a defunct one or worst it might be harder now for all those involved to rebound.

              2. I probably would cheer if a truly bad resto went out of business. More room for the good guys.

                4 Replies
                1. re: rednyellow

                  Exactly, rednyellow. And I would hope there are so many others ready to try, if only the loathesome ones would get out and make the real estate available to others.

                  1. re: rednyellow

                    But why cheer? People have lost jobs and money. The market forces have closed their doors but why place a bowl of better soup or a plate of better chicken ahead of peoples' livelihoods to the point of cheering the demise.

                    Jfood has to believe that in your home town (somewhere in LA he would guess) there are already plenty of good choices and one more is not going to move your pleasure needle much, but cheering just not feel right at the expense of others.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Some restaurants, heck any kind of business, are bad, run by unethical if not outright criminal people. I will applaud their demise. The unfortunate employees will find new hopefully better jobs. I'm not wishing harm to anyone just because I dont like the way they cook a steak.

                      1. re: rednyellow

                        Fair point R and jfood can see and agree with a carve out to his earlier posts.

                        Thr unethical and criminal should be terminated, and jfood is glad that they are. But if the collateral damage is people losing jobs than their unfortunate situation will outweigh the correctness of the former. So it's a push if the closing is a result of unethical or criminal that jfood is glad the former are held accountable while he is very sad that the latter also suffer.

                  2. I don't know if I would cheer, but there was a restaurant here in Richmond that was the "darling" of reviewers, Richmond 'Hounds, etc. and I ate there twice and had one below average meal and the second was the single.worst.meal. I've ever eaten out at any price point. It was so bad (with service to match.....never forget the waitress who filled our red wine glasses to the very top) that Dh and I still laugh about the place. Anyway, when it closed, I did not cheer, but did feel redemption.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Janet from Richmond


                      There was (notice past tense) a restaurant in jfood's home town as well that was the darling, even to the point of the NY Times giving it an "Excellent" in their review. Only the second time jfood has seen this rating in years.

                      Well anyways, jfood ate there 6 times (why, because friends always wanted to try this highly rated place) and each time the food was horrible and the service worse. One time they broke a water carafe and the shattering glass cut mrs jfood on the leg. While she was in the ladies room removing the glass, cleaning and placing a band-aid, they brought the entrees and set them down. I told the runner that mrs jfood was in the ladies room, but language barrier. Elevated to server, and response "if she's in the ladies room, then there is nothing we can do." Mrs jfood arrived at the same time as the MOD who likewise did nothing stating they were too slammed in the kitchen to re-fire. Good news (believe it or not) the owner called jfood, apologized and offered a free meal. They went, food still bad, service still bad, the jfoods just left during entrees.

                      They went under a few months later. Was jfood cheering? Absolutely not. Why should he? Feel redemption for stating his total dismay on these boards with the NYT review and his opinion, sure.