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Oct 15, 2008 09:13 PM

From a Restaurant Owner...

After reading many posts about "the restaraunt that I loved, that I have not visited in six months, and that has disappeared" -----

May I ask you to go RELIGIOUSLY to the *one* or *two* places you love, that are not part of a chain... and do not spend money on McDonalds, Applebees, PJ Changs or other chains - that will survive no matter what happens -

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, go to the places that you *value* EVERY week. Do not spend your money on the O.K. places. Because, the little places will disappear, unless you choose your favorites. Choose the place you love and go EVERY week and - maybe,maybe they may be there in a few years...

With hope - to all my friends in the business - to all the people who busted their asses - to all of the folks who have tried so hard to please the customer......We are the champions.....

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  1. THANK YOU That said,I was planning to wake up that older thread with an in between tie in.In some areas 20 - 30%,at every level there will be a vanishing act.Restaurants,
    chefs (back of the house),wait staff (front of the house) are encountering ECONOMIC
    TOUGH TIMES.Many really first rate people will be hurt for a long time.
    Are you planning to do any entertaining this fall > holiday season ? My plan for me and most clients is to hold at 2007 prices,rather than cancel anything.However we also feel a sense of loyalty and community.Working out the balancing act will require some new thinking.We plan on almost all events to be "off" nights this year,Sunday - Tuesday or Wednesday.Work deals with restaurants at every level.Hire ?? that you already know and like to serve,pour,carve,bus,cook or mix drinks.These are "champions" to preserve in the industry.(F & B).My EXTRA plan/goal is to come up with 125 FULL TARRIFF shifts for about 15-18 people.On the nights etc that they are already faced with serious cutbacks and loss of traffic.Take a little pressure off reduced hours,tips etc.
    Loyalty and fairness now will be rewarded when circumstances permit.The staff you care about also cares,it is a two way thing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lcool

      >>May I ask you to go RELIGIOUSLY to the *one* or *two* places you love,

      You are very correct, Siobhan.

      I am guilty of not doing so, since I don't have a weekly go-to place that I love. That said, I don't eat in chains.

      1. re: lcool

        DH and I agree this is very important - we visit our favorite local diner at least once a week, the local sushi place 2 times per month. We remind our friends and family to support their local economy by visiting locally owned restos as well.

      2. for the most part you are preaching to the choir here(other than the few chain devotees on CH, and shame on them).

        I only eat at locallly owned restaurants when I am doing the choosing. At the locally owned place I frequent, the food is better, the service is better, and the money stays local as opposed to the horrid chaing opitons in the area.

        I agree it is too bad the people who choose a chain restaurant over a locally owned restaurant, they dont know what they are missing in regards to better food, they are hurting local business people, and they are supporting faceless corporations. Put your money where your mouths are.

        1 Reply
        1. re: swsidejim

          Unfortunately, there are just too many places, where the chains really draw 'em in, so chef-driven restaurants have a realy tough time. West Phoenix is one. Unfortunately, it's so very far for us to drive (and we love our wines), but I always read the reviews of such spots, only to see them in the Business Section in the "bankruptcy" listings so very soon.

          When we drive through that culinary wasteland, on our way out of town, the chains are all that we see. There is a vast segment of the dining public that would not think of dining at a mom-n-pop, if there is a Chili's nearby. Fortunately, there are not many of these diners on CH.

          Yes, "preaching to the choir."


        2. If only I could afford to go to ANY restaurant every week.

          I do support my locals as often as possible. But where I live, there are very, very few local choices that are palatable. I have tried mightily, I have probably tried 40 different locals within a very close radius to where I live and literally only 2 produce food good enough for me to return again and again. I love them, but I get tired of middle eastern and pizza as my only dining option. This leaves the option of driving a half hour to a different local resaurant or eating at a chain. Sometimes, when it's 830pm on a cold, wintery night with bad roads, I'm sorry but i don't feel like making that half hour trip.

          I love my locals and support them as often as I can, even though we don't go out to eat once a week, but the argument that ALL locals produce better food than chains just doesn't hold up. Come to my town and eat in some of the diners, full-service restaurants, delis, breakfast places, barbeque joints, mexican places, steakhouses and others among the 40 in my area and I can tell you the meals are just bad in a lot of them. cheap ingredients, shortcuts, sysco everything, tasteless, awful cuisine unfortunately in a lot of them and though the people might be very nice, after 2 tries where neither me or mr. rockandroller have liked what we've had (we usually give a place 2 tries unless it's so bad neither of us can actually eat our meal, which has also happened), we don't go back. I do see these places going under from time to time but honestly, whose fault is it, really?

          5 Replies
          1. re: rockandroller1

            I have your problem in my town as well. The independent restaurants are simply not very good. There are a few worth returning to, but half are too high end to be feasible to visit on a regular basis and the other half aren't necessarily the type of food I'd want every week even if I could afford to go out that often. The roads here are also very bad in the winter, making going out even less desirable. Typically I just end up staying at home and cooking, because the grocery stores do tend to have better items than you can find in a lot of restaurants.

            1. re: queencru

              I have the same problem that you and rockandroller1 have--the few indy restaurants here are just not very good (save for a couple). And I truly enjoy cooking, so I spend at the supermarket or my (not-so-local) natural foods coop. I do regularly patronize the local ice cream shops--probably why I resorted to hiring a personal trainer (she's a local trying to start a business, so I guess I'm helping out the local economy that way).

              I do understand the strain that independent restaurants are under and I really hope that they fare well in these times. But if they aren't good, I won't spend my money there. And some of us don't even go out to eat that often in good economic times--I do have a favorite local place, but I go every month or two and I don't have the inclination to increase that.

              BTW, NYTimes did a story on the changes restaurants are doing to get through this economy:

              1. re: nofunlatte

                Sounds like my little corner of northeastern Indiana. There are some private owned restaurants near me but they aren't very good and I refuse to pay $15 plus for a fish and chips dinner cooked in rancid grease! With that said, we do go to a few local owned Chinese restaurants and the only time we go into a chain is when on the road and we hit a fast food joint along the interstate. On those occasions, if we're traveling for pleasure, we do try to find a small mom and pop. We went for over 6 months without eating out and have only gone a few times in the past three. It's a rare treat for my family and usually coincides with a birthday or some special occasion.

                1. re: alliedawn_98

                  I think I'm probably just a bit south of you, in another culinary wasteland. Good local Thai place, though, and they seem to be weathering this economy so far. I don't eat out much, but when I do, it is this Thai resto, because the food is good.

                  1. re: nofunlatte

                    I have lived near Lebanon and Frankfort and there wasn't much there either. Same goes for Warsaw, Wabash, and North Manchester.

                    I did eat at a pretty good little diner today in Howe, IN. The food is nothing out of the ordinary but the burger was made by hand and served with sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions on a toasted bun.......really, really good.

          2. I make it a point to only partake in sole proprietorships where possible. I have a rotation, and frequently add or remove as I try new places. To get in my rotation, the chow has to be prepared with love, taste excellent, regardless of whether it's comfort, steakhouse or a happy hour, a 'bad day' has to be a real rarity, service must be consistantly very good and the menu has to be fairly priced. So I'll keep patronizing non-chains as long as the restaurants don't get greedy. However, in my area there has been a tendency for local places to gouge the patron, a bad habit from the past that is coming to haunt them in today's economy. Payback time!

            1. True that. Sometimes when I drive a little further to a place I love I tell myself I am "voting" for that place. The preaching to the choir comment posted here is spot on. So I try to talk up a favorite place to those who haven't yet become addicted to chowhound. But it never hurts to post yet another glowing review of your favorites, just in case you can entice a new chowhound customer to go there.