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Post by Mainecoons on Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:23 pm

First impressions are absolutely critical for any business, but especially for a restaurant. I DO expect a new place to have "rehearsed" sufficiently to put forth a credible presentation from the get go. I think this is why so many of the new openings fold shortly thereafter is that they don't understand how important it is to get it right from the start as word of mouth in a place like this is a killer.

I'm reminded of that "Joe's" place that opened up on the carretera to much fanfare and was such a total flop they couldn't even put out a decent Marguerita on opening night. They were gone shortly thereafter.

Don't open until you have your act together. Period.

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Post by CheenaGringo on Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:18 pm

Gringal:

You bring up one of the "oldest tricks in the book". It is well recognized that many restaurants plan to make their real money(profit) from their liquor sales. Not so much in Mexico but NOB, the new consumption enforcements are really hurting this formula and restauranteurs have to be even better business people. If a restaurant chooses to play this game, then they better have a decent separation of viewing areas where people herded to the bar cannot see what is happening at the tables.

MC:

You bring up an interesting aspect to opening a new establishment. NOB, many new establishments have "soft openings" that generally involve inviting either friends or others from the service industry to rehearse. Naturally these events are not intended to be money making events but rather, a cost of start up. Lets take the case of "the walkers". It has been quite apparent through their years of posting, I have gathered so sort of fixation about India, between the music and possibly the food. From my days in the gift industry, this is what we usually called a "mom & pop" operation. As a generalization, they were the worst buyers and the worst business owners because their decisions were based upon what their personal preferences were. They failed to recognize that their customers were "them" and that they probably had a wider range of tastes. I think I noticed where they announced on TOB that they were having a soft opening. What a mistake in a town controlled by rumors! From the various comments I have seen from all of the self proclaimed food critics, this concept seems to have back fired. In addition, I am guessing that many of the comments are coming from people who have no clue what a true Indian restaurant should be serving. Like many countries, India has many regional styles and what people may think about Indian food is very limited from experiences with so called NOB Indian restaurants. Kind of like the variables with Chinese restaurants that people grew up with. Having lived in India for six years, I cannot even imagine Indian music being played too loud as to my ear, it can be really irritating. Ambiance is one thing but irritating music isn't on my list of fun things.

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Post by gringal on Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:17 pm

You nailed it, IMO, CG.

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Post by johninajijic on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:16 pm

MC and others - I think we all need to remember not to try the new places right away, but to give them 2 - 4 weeks to get the kinks outs. Remember we're in Mexico, not NOB.
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Post by Parker on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:56 pm

I find this very interesting. In my youth I worked in the restaurant business. Work for a Mormon company called “Mr. Steak”. For every new restaurant opening they would bring a few service people from other restaurants to show the new employees how to do their jobs. We would spend a week training mostly feeding family and friends. Then we would open but waited three more weeks before we would advertise that we were open.

This is when the company was brand new and they wanted to do everything right and we did become a “going concern”. We were opening a new restaurant about once a month. By the way I probably enjoyed this job above all others I’ve had.

Then someone decided this was a waste of money and stopped. About three to four later this company went broke. It is really true “one gets what they pay for.”

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Post by Zedinmexico on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:00 am

CheenaGringo wrote:Gringal:

You bring up one of the "oldest tricks in the book". It is well recognized that many restaurants plan to make their real money(profit) from their liquor sales. Not so much in Mexico but NOB, the new consumption enforcements are really hurting this formula and restauranteurs have to be even better business people. If a restaurant chooses to play this game, then they better have a decent separation of viewing areas where people herded to the bar cannot see what is happening at the tables.

MC:

You bring up an interesting aspect to opening a new establishment. NOB, many new establishments have "soft openings" that generally involve inviting either friends or others from the service industry to rehearse. Naturally these events are not intended to be money making events but rather, a cost of start up. Lets take the case of "the walkers". It has been quite apparent through their years of posting, I have gathered so sort of fixation about India, between the music and possibly the food. From my days in the gift industry, this is what we usually called a "mom & pop" operation. As a generalization, they were the worst buyers and the worst business owners because their decisions were based upon what their personal preferences were. They failed to recognize that their customers were "them" and that they probably had a wider range of tastes. I think I noticed where they announced on TOB that they were having a soft opening. What a mistake in a town controlled by rumors! From the various comments I have seen from all of the self proclaimed food critics, this concept seems to have back fired. In addition, I am guessing that many of the comments are coming from people who have no clue what a true Indian restaurant should be serving. Like many countries, India has many regional styles and what people may think about Indian food is very limited from experiences with so called NOB Indian restaurants. Kind of like the variables with Chinese restaurants that people grew up with. Having lived in India for six years, I cannot even imagine Indian music being played too loud as to my ear, it can be really irritating. Ambiance is one thing but irritating music isn't on my list of fun things.


Uhhh most resturants have soft openings like Walkers. This is a new family business. How do you learn how much to cook, when to cook it, and all that kind of stuff?
Well better to do it with smaller groups of people and maybe more friendly people like your friends and such than to find out with a full house. Some folks are coming
down to build a Tandoori oven at some point and Nancy is the only cook at this time. So give it some time. Do you know they start cooking two three days before
friday. Yes most indian resturants serve one style. They will eventually serve meals from northern and southern Indian cuisine. I trust the recipes and the cook give
em some time to get the other stuff going. To be fair I should point out I am friends with the whole family. I love Nancy's cooking and have been eating it for years.

Z

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Post by gringal on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:38 am

I agree, Zed. It is one thing to be an excellent cook, and quite another to get into the restaurant business. The factors you mentioned are enough to turn your ears blue.
I wish them luck.....and will try it in April.

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Post by johninajijic on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:53 am

If you're talking about the Indian restaurant, it won't last. Too much of a specialty for too few people. Never thought Laurent would go out. They did a good job in a beautiful atmosphere.
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Post by brigitte on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:24 am

You are right by your theory Laurent was to much of a specialty for too few people. Obviously doing a "beautiful job in a beautiful setting" is not enough to make it.
As far as the Indian restaurant , some people here like Indian food and wether the rstaurant will last or not depends on how much suport it will get.
Laurent was relatively expensive the Indian Restaurant is reasonable.

I hope they make it, it is their dream and I would not to say anything to hurt them, give them a chance before pronouncing them dead.

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Post by gringal on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:43 am

I hope they make it, too. Love Indian food and they are wise in offering both vegetarian and meat choices.

My comment about the difference between being a good cook and operating a restaurant reminds me of two women I know whose dream was to open a pizza parlor in SMA. The trouble with a dream is that the reality can be a nightmare. Between health problems, family in the states problems, employee issues and the cost of ingredients, they closed after less than three months. It was great pizza, though, and all their friends kept encouraging them to go professional. They were both retirement age and that's no time to go into a strenuous job, IMO.

As far as Laurent goes, the comment that there were too few people liking his food and being able to afford his prices is right on. I wish him well for the future.

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Post by CheenaGringo on Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:10 pm

How to make a small fortune in the restaurant business: start with a large fortune!

Zed:
You may have missed my point on a "soft opening". I think under ideal conditions, one needs to limit the number of people who know and attend any type of soft opening. Easier said than done in a smaller town with a set of "jungle drums" like forums. One can already tell from comments that people are expecting that it was ready from the get go and critiquing it as such. I am sure that isn't what the Walkers would have preferred, as negative comments tend to travel faster and further than the positive ones.

There is an old wives tale that the failure rate for new restaurants is 90% NOB. From a couple of studies, it appears that the approximate figures are: 26% first year, 19% second year and 14% third year for a total of 59% within three years. This figure climbs into the mid 70's% in the five to ten year range. Top six reasons why restaurants fail: 1) No unique selling point, 2) Too large of a menu, 3) All talent and no brains, 4) Poor pricing strategy, 5) No marketing skill, and 6) Bad negotiation skill.

I think it is a positive step for them to have a Tandoor Oven built and at the very least serving Tandoor style chicken, lamb, etc can lighten the load as it can remain in the marinade and not have to be fully prepared ahead of time. While I do prepare a fair amount of Indian style food, I don't claim to be an expert. However, I am having a hard time getting a grip on the need to start preparing/cooking food three days ahead of time. I understand that Nancy is currently doing all of the cooking but at some point, she will hopefully be able to train someone and a three day prep time adds to one's labor costs. I would think that it would also leave one vulnerable to excessive food loss if a particular recipe doesn't hit with the customer base.

I do wish them luck and will probably try this new restaurant next visit to the Lake.

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