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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.

                    2. No, but we "cried" when George's in Bar Harbor Closed.

                      1. After reading your responses, I should also give the following clarification:
                        In the email message announcing the closing, the owner mentioned that she was moving to another state to open a wine and tapas resto, and that another resto (likely same upscale caliber given the location) was going to be opening in its place and taking on many of her former employees.
                        And no, I never got food poisoning there, but did have poor service, was ignored when poor service/bad food was brought to the attention of management on more than one occasion (wishful thinking in a return visit) and the food was inconsistent at best, poor on many visits. It was, and I hope will continue to be, a lovely setting and a well decorated space.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: maddogg280

                          maddogg280, I had the same reception at a restaurant I will cheer when it goes out of business.

                          Don't feel badly. There are those who cheer, and those who don't. One camp is not more right than the other.

                          1. re: maddogg280

                            Aha! And now I know what restaurant you are talking about. Nah, I didn't cheer when it closed. It wasn't awful, just mediocre and, therefore, outrageously overpriced. Mostly I was surprised it didn't make it, notwithstanding the overpriced-ness, because it's such a terrific location. I will agree, though, that I am eager to see what goes in next!

                          2. About 20 years ago, we had Saturday ladie's lunch with our then 7 month old baby in a North Shore resto in Wilmette, tony Chicago suburb. Long story short, the lunch was a disaster. Baby behaved very well, no noise or screaming, but smeared food on her face and kept dropping cutlery to the dismay of the elderly patrons. When we attempted to order dessert, we were asked to leave because sight of baby offended elderly lunch customers. The resto burnt to the ground several weeks later (no joke) and the owners had triplets a year or so after that. Didn't wish this on them but somehow retribution was small sign that what goes around comes around.

                            1. Ok, This one I can agree with you on, it was not an upscale actually it was a small Chinese place. The woman who ran it was a tyrant, she used to scream at what I assume was her husband in the kitchen, and her son spit at me and kicked me in the leg (and another customer) When I refused to eat the disgusting buffet they had, and complained about the child I was chased outside like a criminal! I did not eat a single bite, nor did I even put a morsel on my plate, yet they think once you walk in you owe them $6.95
                              I recently drove by and saw "under new management" I walked in and asked where the previous owners were, and was told "deported" I actually SMILED.

                              1. If you dislike a place so much you actually cheer it going out of business, why would you stay on their email list-serve? Just curious. I'd hit "unsubscribe" or reply with "remove" in the subject line.
                                You're not sickos, but maybe a little uncharitable. I totally agree with jfood, I'd feel vindicated but would never cheer if an upscale restaurant I didn't care for (especially one that got rave reviews) went out of business.

                                1. no, i'd always think of the poor lady whose restaurant went under a few years ago. she lost everything and was living in a women's shelter. they even took her 2 dogs away from her--her only family. she was absolutely a wreck of a human being, and i don't see any triumphant return for her, more like a pauper's grave after a couple hundred thou of taxpayer medical bills.

                                  people on these boards don't realize how much individuals and whole families put on the line to open restaurants, and how enormously scary the risk is. laughing at whole families who aren't well off to begin with, when they risk everything for the dream and then for one reason or another they can't make it and they lose absolutely everything is pretty sicko. do you laugh at the olympic skater who's trained her whole life and then she falls on her butt when she's up for the gold medal too?

                                  right now the banks want 4x the collateral for a restaurant loan, and the more restaurants go under the less likely they will loan to an independent, non-chain, non franchisee restaurateur. so, no. the little guys who have the talent but not the cash *won't* be stepping into that vacant restaurant and doing amazing things with the food, you'll just be stuck with another chain, or some rich a-hole who likes the idea of owning a restaurant as a club for her/himself and the buddies, but has no clue about the food, the mgmt, or how to treat the employees or customers. another bad restaurant whose owner is writing it off and is skinning the customers for everything they're worth. glad the whole situation is amusing to you, please ignore my negative post and cheer away.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    I doubt that any diner would want a well meaning and respectful restauranteur to go out of business. In fact, I hope these 'kind' restauranteurs move into the real estate of the disrepectful and loathesome restauranteur. And soon.

                                    I think the intent of the OP poster was directed at those restauranteurs who don't know the meaning of customer service and didn't deserve to be in the restaurant business to begin with. If they were well meaning and solicitous, they wouldn't have engendered the dislike to even be discussing being 'happy' at them going out of business.

                                    As asked by the OP, I will still cheer at those restauranteurs described above who appear to hate their customers. I won't feel in the least bad for them. They should go out of business. Hopesully, any server who works for some of the owners/managers who run some of the places I have been in will get new and better jobs, hopefully at the place opened in the same real estate by the kind and respectful restauranteur.

                                    1. re: dolores

                                      as i explained in the 3rd paragraph of my above post, the "bad" restaurateurs going out of business actually makes it tougher for the "good" ones to open a restaurant. trust me, the banker looks at you like you're a moron and says: "johnny millionaire couldn't make it work with the franchise backing, what makes you think you and your friends can do it with your collective $200-- you don't even have a marketing staff? now shut up, we're backing a tgi fridays for that space and that's it, get out of my office and try not to get flour on the carpet on your way out."

                                      i don't like the bad restaurateurs either but people need a place to work and restaurants need to survive and be viable in order for smaller ones to even emerge in the first place. thinking that a restaurant, even a bad one, going out of business is good for competition, or that the restaurant scene will improve because of any restaurant (even a bad one) closing is fundamentally flawed thinking.

                                      if aunt edna wants to open a cafe in smalltown and no restaurant has ever made it there, aunt edna won't get a microloan. if there's been a despicable denny's in smalltown that has stayed open for years because there's just nowhere else to go, then aunt edna has a snowball's chance in hell of convincing the bank that there is a market for her homestyle concept and that she has a customer base that will patronize her place. and if she succeeds somewhat and is still open five years later, valerie might stand a snowball's chance at getting a microloan for her weensy little semi-fine dining place, because she can demonstrate that she has a market for a special-occasion place. and if valerie's place is still open in a few years. . .

                                      it's just economics 101, really. a "good" restaurateur may not have anything in common with the franchise that chokes and goes under on a busy corner of an emerging foodie area of the city, but s/he'd be nuts to think that its demise is beneficial for the restaurant scene overall in any way. it's more of a litmus test really. when one restaurant goes, their competitors don't party. they hope and pray that their restaurants are not next, and they prepare for hard times. the customers otoh should note that their dining options have shrunk, and that if the restaurant scene in their area continues to shrink and/or become more homogeneous, well, that's not good. . .

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        >>or that the restaurant scene will improve because of any restaurant (even a bad one) closing is fundamentally flawed thinking.

                                        But I didn't say anything about the restaurant scene improving and that wasn't what the OP alluded to. I am simply happy when bad restaurants and disrepectful restauranteurs go out of business, as I explained in my posts.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          ah. then i'm being too "meta" once again about this. i should just know sometimes when to not take it seriously, and to point and laugh and say "what a dumbass, he deserved it." a little voice in my head gets in the way, though-- "what if he didn't deserve it? what if you're next; will people laugh at *you*?" i do wonder if folks who laugh and cheer at others' failures think that they could do better-- since i've seen many people fail who've seemed to have *everything* going for them. if the ones jeering the failed restaurant couldn't do better themselves, why cheer? but enough brainpower on this: as a dear friend says-- "less thinkin', more drinkin."

                                          1. re: soupkitten


                                            Jfood is now standing up and cheering your soap box. The cheering of a business going out of busines is as stated above. And the level of "disrespect" so many people allude to could be not having their water glass filled, not giving them butter with their bread, heck remember numerous threads about the self-importants and how dare noone come over when i demanded such. Unless someone gets in jfood's face and starts jaw-boning and cursing him like a major league manager to an umpire, his definition is waaaaay higher than not getting his entree properly cooked or getting a personal "I'm so sorry" when there are 20 other patrons trying to get a table.

                                            It just baffles jfood on how self-important so many on these boards feel about themselves. A restaurant is a business run by human beings who have good and bad days and hours. And to take a snapshot of a situation and call for "off with their heads" is as described in jfoods posts.

                                            People should really sit in some investment committees and hear why applications are approved or rejected. Your scenarios are very accurate. Oh heck someone else will come into the spot. 4:1 collateral for a loan and it's usually their homes and given the downturn in the housing markets it's probably 5:1 in 6 months. How many people want to risks their homes, very few.

                                            So thank you for taking a stand and you have jfood standing right next to you.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              >>It just baffles jfood on how self-important so many on these boards feel about themselves.

                                              No such thing, and no cause to insult posters with a differing opinion from you. The OP asked a question and asked whether they were 'sickos'. No, they are not 'sickos'.

                                              Your attempting to lay blame on the dining patron rather than the disrespectful restauranteur has no basis in reality.

                                              But bottom line, you don't cheer and I do. It's still a free country, thankfully.

                                              1. re: dolores


                                                The OP asked if people believed he was a "sicko". so people answering yes would be calling OP a sicko. Jfood calling this by a different name, "self-important", one that he believes is basically a quasi-synonym, should not be viewed as anything other than jfood agreeing with the OP that such behavior qualifies as a "sicko".

                                                Jfood also agrees that you and anyone else has the right to cheer, he just not understand how people can find the glee in others' misfortunes for such trivial issues in the grand scheme of things.

                                                C'est la vie, ms D.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  (I am curious why CH has let this continue; they are like a referee who lets a prize fight go way too long. Are they getting some glee out of this thread?) So, to hopefully appease the CH Gods I say:

                                                  Please, jfood, no disrespect intended, at all. I have not followed you to the extent that I "know you" but I assume you have a relationship to the food industry. You seem to be knowledgeable about food and the system. Me, not so much.

                                                  I, too (as jimingso) don't understand you going "around the horn" with your rhetoric. I think I get it that you do not agree with OP and that they are sickos.
                                                  My guess is that you or a close person had a failed venture.
                                                  Whether or not, I have. It hurt a lot; a helluva lot. I don't think anyone was happy with my demise; it just happened. I keep looking back and trying to understand it. Had I did this or that, had I been better on the financial end, then it would have not occurred. It is water over the dam, but it struck a nerve with me.

                                                  I am opinionated, just like you. I occasionally get attachments to restaurants and want them to succeed. I have even tried to help some. I have even been asked to help one.
                                                  Agreed: In the grand scheme of things, this site and this discussion is irrelevant. But, we are here, and we are discussing this, and I wish you would choose your words more judiciously and not be so glib about other's opinions. I suspect that after 3.5 years of going to a restaurant, (how many times?) OP's feeling that they had invested significantly and been let down; that they have a right to say good riddance!

                                                  1. re: Scargod


                                                    No relationship at all with the food industry and jfood is not upset if others disagree with him, he loves the socratic discourse. Nor has he had any personal involvement with a restaurant that has gone under. He's just an old guy with some old values who has raised a couple of kids, trying to teach them right from wrong.

                                                    But the OP mentioned that "but the food and service steadily when downhill". Noone got hurt, noone was robbed, noone came down with food poisoning, but the food was not as good and the service was not, in the opinoon of OP and friends, as good. Is this a reason to cheer? Jfood just does not believe that's a nice reaction.

                                                    And jfood is not being glib at all about the subject, he truly believes that cheering the demise of a restaurant, one that employs people in which they will suffer is wrong. And he is absolutely willing to listen when others present cogent arguments (see jfood's post above Apr 17, 2008 11:01PM) in which rednyellow presented a very good example and jfood modified his answer to exclude malfeasance and lack of ethics.

                                                    Jfood agrees that there are many threads that he wonders when the Mods will cut it off or say OK guys, enough. So jfood will state this will be his last post on this one. He has stated his peace, others have as well. there is major disagreement, minor disagreement and some overlap.

                                                    So if you are upset at this very firm stance then jfood apologizes that you are upset, but this is something that jfood feels strongly about (guess that's not a surprise).

                                                    So now on to good food topics like pizza in New Haven, Seafood on the shoreline and Mexican food between Stamford and New Haven.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        While I will certainly acknowledge that cheering at someone's expense is uncharitable, I think that the original poster could have phrased things a little differently.

                                                        "Poor restauranteur... But maybe the neighborhood will get a great new restaurant in its place! Yay!"

                                                        As I said, I think it is uncharitable (and I used that word both times because I think it is the ideal word for the situation) to cheer at someone's misfortune, but I think it is human to happily await the consequences of said misfortune (and maybe cheer a little about things to come).

                                                        That said, in my experience, I can only think of one restaurant that went out of business that I remarked with grief. A very popular, suburban, non-chain Italian place I loved was bought and made-over into a "Mexican" monstrosity. When the "Mexican" place went under, I lamented (and still do, even though it's been 8 years) the needless loss of the excellent Italian place. Fortunately, the owners of the Italian place funneled the money into another of their restaurants. But it's not as good.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          >> but this is something that jfood feels strongly about (guess that's not a surprise).

                                                          As do those with a differing opinion. No surprise.