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Restaurants are difficult to establish and operate. Many don't make it past five years.
Those that survive owe a lot to hard work, persistence, and an attitude--never give up. Some try different approaches before settling on the one that works.
Example: Clarence bought a restaurant that was going downhill. The clientele had drifted away, and the former owner did little to counteract the slide. The place had a large dining room and a large extra room for parties. Clarence considered changing the menu, the decor, and the furnishings. But he decided to "punch up" the menu, upgrade the decor, and replace the tables and chairs. He wanted to capture and hold the attention of his regulars while he concentrated on putting that extra party room to more use. He began contacting local organizations, groups, and businesses--offering them free use of the room for their meetings and for a set price he would cater food and drink. Soon, Clarence was catering two or three meetings every week. This introduced his "new" restaurant to more people--he began to get calls from corporate event people. Meanwhile, he kept improving and adding to the menu. It took a couple of years, but the restaurant that was headed toward oblivion is now turned around and profitable.
Example: Phyllis wanted to establish an exclusive cafe serving breakfasts only. She targeted that narrow market segment of upscale executives, professionals, managers and others. These people were looking for a healthy breakfast and relaxed conversation among their peers. Phyllis leased a place that could seat 50 or so at tables in three small rooms. She offered memberships that included a key card to the front door that was kept locked. There was no sign anywhere--members had to know this place in order to find it. Memberships included free coffees and teas, lattes and cappuccinos. Members placed breakfast orders on apps as they headed to the place, or they had standing orders. They paid for individual breakfasts at their convenience--the bill was sent to their phone. Phyllis was apprehensive in the beginning that it would take months to get established, but social media did the job in a few weeks. The place is filled every morning beginning at 6 a.m. and there is a waiting list wanting to buy memberships.
Example: Yma had an idea for a new type of restaurant. Well, not really new. Yma's grandmother had run a boarding house, serving lunches and dinners family-style. The big dining room table could seat 16 people--and it was usually full. Diners passed bowls of vegetable and platters of meats. The aroma of freshly baked bread filled the place. The operation enjoyed a good reputation, frequently attracting townspeople to fill out two seatings. Yma inherited her grandmother's house, that big table, and the memories. She was determined to establish her own restaurant--again, family-style. Yes, she offered a large buffet, but diners were encouraged to pass dishes around the table and engage in conversation. The operation attracted families anxious to experience the community feeling of meeting and dining together. No phones are allowed in the room, but reservations are now required to get in.
Restaurants reflect the food, the ambiance of the place, as well as the personality of the owner. Bringing all this together takes skill--with a view of the targeted diner group.
New ideas can attract new attention. And some old ideas are always good possibilities.
Additional examples of taking restaurants and cafes in a new direction are scattered throughout these write-ups.