I was too lazy to walk to work and stopped to catch a boss and heard someone from behind. It turned out to be an old bookkeeper I know from a restaurant job. I had to run and could not talk to him but enough was said that his restaurant was slow and ‘struggling’ as he put it. I am careful with what people say because their idea of things does not always reflect reality. I couldn’t get the name of the restaurant out of him (he probably knows blogs exist) but where he mentioned all restaurants do okay except for one time during the year and that is now. Downtown and financial district can have a slowdown during the summer because many people go on vacation. The tourist business can pick up and help but the main shoppers disappear to go away (or at least many of them do). That was my rationale for not worrying about what is going on. On the other hand, economy does suck and I am amused when I see references to post-recession economy in literature.
Are we really there or is it that Obama and his regime need to make themselves look good? It seems that so many things are about Obama and what he wants and how he wants it. I recently came across a situation where many people are being hurt mostly based on criteria that is racist and I don’t think anyone in this country would lift a finger even if everyone of them would die tomorrow. Officially, racism does not exist in this country because Obama is in office and he is. That is what the right wing wants to be the established implicit (explicit discussion of the state of racism will require examination and they don’t want that) belief about the state of American society by ensuring racism is kept out of the media as much as possible and the best tool is Obama himself. I was told yesterday and find it believable that Obama personally does not want racism to be a large scale issue because he would have to make a stand on the issue and would come under heavy attack from all sides. The more real the conflict, the more real the participants will have to be to survive and get anywhere and fakes such as Obama will show as soon as the conflict manifests itself. The smart approach has been to imply America is such a great country that even a black person can be President and racism should be a non-topic so the greatness of America shows. Otherwise, Obama and his election will amount to nothing because he is worthless and nothing is significant about his presence besides him being black. Economy is another issue that has been bad since Obama got in there and nothing has changed but the government is working hard to make things look otherwise. As far as the people in the real world are concerned, America is a hard, weak and poor place because of the economic collapse. 85% of Americans have always been just people and had little financially to brag about by living in this country. The economic crash has pushed many lifestyles to what they were in the early 80s. The money supply was tight, interest rates were high and only the rich had money. The rest just were there. That is when Reagonomics destroyed the foundation of American economy and brought fake prosperity. Today we are there again and many are attempting to bring another fake solution to America’s problems. Economy is still bad but summer hides much of it.
The restaurant business has been a cyclical business forever. I find it unnecessary to discuss its history and how it has been functioning but like to share a few things. Locally, fashion and media exposure has resulted in creation of many restaurants that do not conform to standards of American restaurant industry and happened because of the economic gains possible in the unique local market. A huge assumption exists that restaurants either do very well because they are often busy or not do well and are going down. That may appear true from the outside but not true if one examines the internal operations. Speaking in general, many restaurants are open 6 to 7 days each week and many open for both lunch and dinner in San Francisco. What the public does not realize immediately is the bulk of the sales of most restaurants take place within a two hour window of lunch and 5 hour window of dinner. The real time is often much shorter. In reality, most restaurants locally are able to stay in business and do very well for many years by following a simple formula. Everyone understands the concept of slow and busy days and that is the jest of it. Many in public will have a hard time believing that many many restaurants have very high sales on only one night each week and if they are luck have high sales on another night. This generally is Saturday in most cases and either Sunday or Friday for the second high sales day. The days may vary in any order but what makes many many restaurants stable in the long run is they are able to have at least one very busy day when all staff work and both the house and the staff make good money. The rest of the week can fluctuate. A convention week can mean busy nights every night and tourist off-season can mean slow nights every night. The bottom line is industry can survive and do well when better times arrive by having these establishments in place and running if only one good night of business exists to pay many staff and house bills and the rest of the time will be hit and miss but life goes on. That is one of the facts of restaurant business often ignored when looking at cash flow in the long run. Business owners, investors and the public expect the place to be busy all the time or is in trouble.
The fact that one very busy night can help so much to turn everyone’s numbers around enough to be able to survive the worst and be in place to do great in better times gives us a great opportunity to create this one night or more on a regular basis to help keep the establishments going. Dine About Town is one such program that works very well though for short periods of time. Everyone benefits in the process in spite of the many shortcomings of the actual handling of the program by restaurants. Restaurant lobby both locally and nationally are very good at helping themselves and if nothing else are very organized. Why not organize busy nights on a revolving basis to keep places going steady and benefit the participant public? It is not difficult to sign many people up in some club or organization format with the objective of going out one night a week or twice a month with an organized group to specific restaurants. A large number of people can be grouped into small bands based on many characteristics such as locality, food, drink, and personal interests. Public can also exchange groups and benefit from meeting new people rather than the same folks regularly. The practice of visiting many restaurants on a regular basis will turn into a riot movement. Most people will make friends with their group members and make a clique that is directed to visit many places on specific nights. The majority of places are slow on week nights while a few are slow on weekends. That creates many opportunities. Anybody who participates in this program will make lots of friends (networking? social life?) possibly in thousands if moving from group to group and will experience so much of the local scene only the elite would expect to be able to do in a lifetime. I don’t have to list all the benefits for the participants but they are numerous and such programs last to become a lifestyle even if only once-a-week or twice-a-month. They just need a little organization and guidance and this is not a discount program or happy dining event. The basic objective is to visit many restaurants on prearranged basis thus giving the place one busy night that really helps them on a regular basis and that is that. A lot of other good things will happen in the process but the basic objective is to keep these people going while getting many hundreds of times good things compared to a random, unplanned lifestyle of eating out regularly or seldom. This is a good job for the local restaurant lobby and can have many thousands signed up so fast. They just have to be organized into practical groups that function within the industry and Internet and social media will take care of the rest of the development of much of what will be going on. I expect many groups to blend until shaped enough to be closed and not open to outside public and the same people will be shepherds around week after week making the best of the city and having a strong social life on the side. I don’t think money is a big issue because most of the people participating will fall within a specific spending range of comfort and stay there. The groups can visit places out of their price range infrequently while having ‘organized fun’ regularly. This is not a discount program and has to spend within average spending limits to work and will get so many things going indirectly,it is worth doing even if not successful as a once-a-week dining group.
Restaurant businesses are often started by one or a few people with some background in the industry. Usually something is done very right and other things lag. That is the case for 80% of the restaurants not part a chain or family. These establishments by nature have weak business plans and can get into trouble easily. They are however very important in the American life when they are around and actually do function well. Many are willing to take steps to help keep their favorite restaurants in business. A program such as the one proposed here will help do this by creating some intelligent entity that knows which restaurant needs more help and organizes the willing public to participate in a cool social activity that keeps plenty of things together benefiting everyone in the long run greatly by obvious benefits and indirect ones. I think the idea is best titled as ‘eat free for life.’ That may make the public interested they will somehow eat free at restaurants for a lifetime while it really points to the fact that restaurant writers and critics do eat for free one way or another as part of their vocation or avocation. I am personally tired of attempts to bribe me with food knowing my comments can go one way or another. I think I have returned enough food to realize something is missing from the system. Groups such as listed can easily accommodate food writers and other professionals on a limited basis by enabling them to visit many locations on a regular basis without being a source of fear and remain on top of what is going on in the field. I like to think the outcome of such regular activity will be good exposure and more of help than harm done by media critics. Frankly, it is either such programs that can help groom a large number of potential (and dedicated) writers in the field or that people such as Michael Bauer will hold the spot light on their choices and hold the industry hostage indefinitely just because some entity (a newspaper in this instance) enables them to eat free for life.
My job has been to help develop this idea and bring it to a point that can be picked up by others. I personally think restaurant (and the like) lobbies will be best able to run a program such as this because it requires information and organization and that is what they are about in spite of all their vices. If such a program does come to existence, it must be remembered it was mentioned in Wine by Cush blog first and I have to be number one person on the list of the food and beverage writers who benefit from it. Why? Well why not and none of you can handle Michael Bauers and other monsters needless to mention here. I can cause more trouble than all the food and beverage writers in America on my own. I belong on the number one list (and if you don’t I tell everyone what is wrong with your program and watch it collapse). Adiou.