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FIB - Scams 101 - Ye Olde Archives

I'm glad a restaurant owner chimed in here

Posted By: Bluto
Saturday, 25 March 2006, at 6:01 p.m.

In Response To: Re: I think I will stick to chain restaurants? (Margaret MacGillivray)

My parents owned a small restaurant all of their lives in the US. They worked 11-13 hour days, EVERYDAY. 32 years. Never had many employees over the years. It was family run about 99%. They/We busted our backsides. Since it was family run with an occasional outside employee, food cost was kept very low (we're talking under 20%, which is unheard of in the restaurant biz) and they were able to keep prices VERY low. I mean you could get a dinner for literally half the price as all other restaurants in it's class and you would get a whole lot more. Many of the customers fed two people per dinner. When you have employees who do not own the business, they tend to waste food by the bucket load. YOu can't run a low food cost with outside employees.

But despite the low cost of a dinner and the large portions it was inevitable that people would always bitch when the price went up a quarter or so. They made you feel like you were some money-hungry jerk or something. Well, at least they tried. But it really gets to you after a while. Then, they also had the audacity to ask if the price included something more, like desert or a drink. Sometimes my Dad would be in a bad mood and say something sarcastic like, "Yeah, it comes with a free car, too".

People can be very unappreciative. I don't know how it is in your country, but in the US, many people seem to think that if you own a business, you must have a lot of money. So given that, they think that it is OK to push you around and demand excellent customer service at all times. They think that you must also be superhuman. It gets rather disgusting at times.

So my Mom eventually dies and then my Dad became disabled and very ill. I decided to keep the restaurant going. But after almost 3 years of running it myself, I decided to close shop even though it was somewhat profitable. I didn't sell it. I just closed the doors and sold off the contents. It was too painful to keep it going. Even though it was profitable, it was a lot of work. And in the end, min wage earners were making more than I was when you consider the hours I had to put in, day in, day out.

I got tired of being pushed around like an "unfeeling automaton" as you put it. It just wasn't worth the pain and suffering you had to put up with just to make the masses happy. I tried. But I also know that one more year in that restaurant I would have gone completely bonkers and ended up being driven off in a paddy wagon.

Ah, well. What can ya do. In the restaurant business, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. That's why I vowed never to work in a restaurant ever again. The only way I would ever own one is if I had lot of money and just own it but not actually run it. Leave that to managers and employees. At least in the end, if you are not making any money, you can use it as a tax shelter or fire the manager in hopes to get a better one who will run the staff and operation better than the last. but owning and running a restaurant is the pitts!


> Hi, BizNewbie - first of all, I feel rude calling you that. I had hoped
> you'd feel comfortable enough here to introduce yourself properly and
> invite us to use your real name :)

> As the owner of a small coffee shop, we always aim to give good service.
> But it's sometimes really difficult to get good feedback from customers or
> even potential customers 8-) - just as it is sometimes difficult or
> impossible to get the customer service right on busy days when the
> customers are playing musical chairs and there's a queue out the door.

> Loads of people dream of running a restaurant and underestimate the
> physical and mental strength needed to cope with the hours of work and the
> demands of the public. It's also very easy to get discouraged in a small
> business when takings don't cover overheads; and sometimes it's not easy
> to get good staff. Difficult to guess exactly what the problems are from
> this side of the "Pond"!

> From my side of the counter, I know I would appreciate it if someone said
> to me "Hey, Margaret - you were shut the other day. We were looking
> forward to some soup .. I hope everything's ok with you. By the way, we
> noticed that your xxxxxx wasn't up to standard and hope you don't mind me
> bringing it to your attention."

> I don't run an aswerphone service in the shop (we do 9 hour days, 7 days a
> week, plus time to clean down the coffee shop), but I know that I wouldn't
> react too favourably to a hostile message. The thought of bouncing stale
> buns and icecubes down shirtfronts comes to mind LOL

> Just because these people own a business doesn't make them into unfeeling
> automatons; and if they end up closing the business down, it doesn't mean
> that someone else couldn't make a roaring success of it.

> Keep us posted on developments, please. You've certainly piqued my
> curiousity!

> Best
> Margaret

FTC = Federal Trade Commission

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