COMMENTARY
7:36 am
Wed October 30, 2013

In Restaurants, Everything Matters

There’s a popular belief that nine out of ten new restaurants fail in the first year. It’s a myth.

A new study by an associate professor of hospitality management at Ohio State has identified a real figure of six. Six out of ten new restaurants fail in the first year. That’s still pretty high mortality, but not out of line with startups in other business categories.

Nevertheless, I think the only business tougher than retail is the restaurant business. There are just so many different reasons why people don’t come back.

There’s location. Parking. Decor. Lighting. Menu. Is it easy to read? Too little or too much selection? Obviously the food. Prices. Cleanliness. Friendliness. The music. The service. A restaurateur can think he’s doing everything right, then send the wrong signal on one tiny element.

Why, for instance, would a restaurant owner put on his tables a knock-off of Sweet ‘n Low? 

Not the REAL fake sugar.
Not the REAL fake sugar.

A pink bag of sweetener that’s not the real thing. Whoever you are, you can’t help but wonder why somebody would try to save less than a penny and prompt the undeniable question: If he’s buying the cheapest sweetener he can, what about the rest of the stuff in the kitchen.

It’s like putting a second rate brand of ketchup on the table. Just doesn’t make sense.

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