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What is happening in the NYC Restaurant biz?

My friend David Silverman has a great blog- http://discussionleader.harvardbusiness.org/silverman/

Over the weekend he asked me for my take on the current restaurant business market and what I though was in store for 2009. Here you go. Is full story is on his blog.

1. How bad has the current downturn been? Usually from December 2nd to just before Xmas, we have mayhem in the restaurants. Customers are having big company parties and revenue is pouring in. The holiday season of 2008 has been tepid, to say the least.
Can you compare it to this time last year? Yes, revenues for December 2008 are down 40% for the month of December.

2. Do you think all the worry about the financial condition of the US 
is overblown and that at the small business/entrepreneur level things 
are pretty much the same?
The financial conditions in the US are not over blown. More and more people are losing there jobs and more and more people are cooking at home or when they do go out, passing on bottled water, drinking wines by the glass as opposed to bottles of wine and forfeiting that 2nd or 3rd drink.
We are seeing a meltdown in consumer confidence and it is having a ripple effect throughout our entire economic system.

Or is the real story of the financial 
meltdown actually much worse for small business than the reporters are 
Saying? I believe that we will begin to see many "mom and pop" and other small businesses go under in 2009. When revenues slow down, it is so much harder to control costs and it can be suffocating.

3. Do you think it will stay this bad for 2009? Yes
Get worse? I think Q1 and Q2 will not be any better than now and as of December 15th, we have not heard one wall street firm announce bonuses. That is a huge problem.
Get better?  I do feel with the right stimulus plans and the rebuilding of consumer confidence that Q4 could begin to see an up tick in growth and spending.
What have you seen that makes you think this way? NO BON-- -- USES!

4. Given how you think things will go for 2009, what is your plan? Stay focused on delivering great food and service and the right price. We will drive into our managers that staying on budget, not overspending and staying positive will help us through these tough times.

Will you start any new ventures? If an opportunity presents itself...YES.
Will you stop anything you've got going on now? Probably not.

Do you have some other plan for coping with 2009? My wife and I always stay positive in good times and bad. Our positive energy creates great things and opportunities for us personally and professionally. We will continue to stay focused, hard working and positive throughout '09.

5. Any other thoughts for 2009? Just be thankful for what we have.....

Have you seen these yet?

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Carolyn Zweben, Licensed Associate RE Broker
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