Friday, April 23, 2010

Peter Christian's Tavern

In local news, Peter Christian's Tavern's future is bleak and liquidation seems the only option. The bottom line is that the owner, Russ, is doing what he has to do.
Restaurants are very hard work. Small businesses are very hard work and most are always on the brink of shutting down. Between tax codes, regulations and human resources, running a small business is actually 2 businesses on one, the administrative side and then the trade side. Few patrons can grasp the concept that ordering a $3 beer and a $7 sandwich doesn't keep the restaurant afloat.
Restaurants have to pay to have your dishes washed before & after your meal (albeit even a little one) is served. Tables have to be prepped, linens cleaned and pressed. The waitstaff has to be hired, the menus have to be printed. Then, condiments - salt, pepper, ketchup, oils, vinegars, grated cheese, cocktail sauces, have to be at the ready. Think of all the "simple" requests... can I get a side of dressing? Can I have another slice of bread? May I have a free refill?.... well, all these things are NOT in fact free. The establishment may absorb the cost, but that just means that the establishment pays for it.

Interesting concept - Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts have made it totally acceptable and appreciated to pay $3 and up for a cup of coffee to go. And yet in a restaurant with sit down service and "bottomless" cups, patrons scoff at these prices.

Then there are articles all over the web and in magazines touting how to eat out for know have heard all the tricks - drink tap water, split an entree and an appetizer, fill up on bread, avoid dessert and drinks...
But, this is not without consequences. Small businesses can not survive.

There is a 3/50 movement where local businesses encourage community members to shop locally, spending $50 in small businesses 3 times a month. At first when I heard this, I was a little surprised at the brazenness of it. But, after I calmed down and gave it some thought, it made sense to me.
Well, that is if I want the small businesses to be there in the future.

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