March 02, 2009
Written by: Vincent McConeghy
There is a common misconception amongst the civilian population (ie. non-food service professionals), that the closing of a restaurant or a food operation should proceed in a certain manner and with a certain amount of dignity.
Rest assured, never has a restaurant-no matter how many unredeemed gift certificates floated their bank accounts- turned off the lights for good with less dignity than Bernie Madoff or Merrill Lynch.
Where is the dignity on Wall Street or in corporate America?
Still it is irksome to read the obituary of a restaurant by someone who has not worked in the business. Inevitably, the restaurateur is either vilified, lampooned, or in the worst case, canonized, when in fact, the closing of a restaurant is a pretty standard course of affairs.
Yes, it can be traumatic because nothing in this business gets built without heart and grit. And nothing sustains business more than good numbers.
But please, spare us the over-exaggerated scrutiny that seems to pop up every time an operator decides to close. Gloom and doom is the order of the day in most facets of business. Right now, it's not an easy time to be an operator (if ever there was one?).
I do know that food service operators never stand still and are quick to react, adapt and survive. They are they heartiest species in the jungle world of business. They face real-time challenges that other professions simply cannot comprehend.
The subject of closure is spooky enough that I will stop here. Not all of us have the arrogance or good fortune to close as our former President once remarked : "At the time and date of our choosing."
That's all right with me.
When it's time to close, it's time to close.