Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Opportunities in the future

 When we are traveling together, I frequently take a long walk while Jay showers and dresses. It gives me 30-45 minutes to wander and think.  In Cleveland I walked past a closed theater, an out of business bank, an out of business childcare center, and a couple of closed forever restaurants.  This got me thinking. 

The experts are saying that 60% of the restaurants that closed for the pandemic, will never reopen.  The restaurant business is fickle, having one of the highest closure rates of small businesses.  But 60% in one years is a lot of closure.  As things come back, this also creates a lot of opportunities.  There will be a lot of fitted out ready for a good cleaning and coat of paint restaurant spaces available for new entrepreneurs. Every restaurant has the server who thinks, "I can deliver better service than this." The cook, who knows that can make "better food than this." And the person with a head for numbers who knows they can "deliver a better value."  The three keys to success in the restaurant business, quality, service and value.  As things settle into the new normal in the coming months there has never been a better opportunity for them to take the plunge.  

At the same time there are massive changes to the food service supply chain.  The supply chain is set up to standardize with mediocrity, for a savings of a few pennies here and there, the food supply that goes into the typical restaurant.  One of the reasons you seldom find fresh and local in a restaurant, is fresh and local does not fit into the global supply chain that aims to deliver the same product, for the lowest price, everyday of the year.  In doing so it standardizes mediocrity.  That supply chain has been brought to a halt, and is starting back in fits and starts, opening the door for fresh, seasonal and local to find its way in the back door of a restaurant near you and into the hands of the talented cook who always thought they could deliver better quality, better value (note I didn't say cheaper),  into the hands of servers who know they can deliver a better dining experience.  Now is the time for the farmers and dairies and vintners to go direct to the kitchens of the new opportunity restaurant near you. 

It may take months, or even a couple of years, but I think we will see a revolution in new restaurants, offering unique food and service.  

What kind of a restaurant would you like to have open near you?   

14 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. While it is sad for those who have lost their small businesses and livelihoods, there are now great opportunities for those with a little behind them. If like here, small businesses have always come and gone. Of more concern to me is the large retailers that may never recover after the onslaught of buying online. While I do buy online, I prefer to do so in person if the price difference is not great. Nice lateral thinking about local supply of food. Some restaurants and at least one minor grocery chain here were already breaking the standard mould by buying fresh produce locally.

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    1. Retail is fundamentally changing, we have a couple of major retailing groups that have failed to change and this may well spell the end for them. At the same time, Target the second largest discount retailed, reported an amazing quarter of sales, largely driven by a mix of retail, online ordering for curbside pickup and online sales.

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  2. I not sure, I really have a bit of everything near me now....although my favorite Mexican place around the corner will not make it. The delivery guy said they are closing next week after 31 years. I think we will see the top point of the closings this autumn or winter, when they think the virus will be at it's worst....then it will flatten for some time before, like you said going the other way then.

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    1. Sad to see a local favorite close. I have stopped trying to figure out when this will peak, or get better.

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  3. We've got everything I want ... except for a really good Mexican restaurant. Still, I would simply like to no see so many closures.

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    1. Spain did a better job than the US on helping restaurants and bars through the closures. A high school classmate of mine moved from San Antonio Texas to Germany, and went in search of a Mexican restaurant - unhappy.

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  4. we need mexican and indian in mah hood. the "mexican" currently is a chain and the "indian" offers bad service.

    we have been trying to keep our local mom-n-pop italian/chinese/thai/vietnamese/japanese places going with take-out/delivery orders.

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    1. A new Indian place opened near us recently, they had been working on the space for a year or more.

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  5. Indian. The closest one is about an hour away.

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    1. Someday I will have to tell the tale of the Nan bread, that just kept coming.

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  6. I'll join the group pining for an Indian restaurant close by. Thai would also be nice.

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    1. There was a great Thai restaurant in Lexington Ky just across from the University.

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  7. this hit a nerve.
    I think more people are wanting fresh, tasty food than mass produced rubbish even if it means paying more for it. I know I do. Do my delight my grocery store sells heirloom tomatoes they are expensive and often not in great shape but oh they are delicious.

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