Restaurant operators on the year ahead
January 13, 2011
Nation’s Restaurant News asked restaurant operators across the country to share expectations for their businesses in 2011. Most are optimistic that the new year will bring renewed consumer spending and opportunities for expansion. Still, a few remain cautious that the economic uncertainty of the past few years will continue into 2011.
Read what they had to say:
“We’re anticipating a slow start to the New Year, but by late fall I think we’ll see business picking up. I judge it by advance booking for our catering business, and we already are seeing more activity in the first quarter [of 2011]. I think people are still looking for price-value and comfort food — everything fresh from farm to table. I think that people who stick with good quality will survive.”
— Walter Staib, chef-proprietor of City Tavern in Philadelphia
“We have been up all throughout the recession. Even when it looked bad everywhere else around town, we were up. We kept prices low, our volume rose. Bar prices stayed low, happy hours filled two bars and overflowed into the third one outside. We improved the menus, eliminating all the stagnant items and only the best-selling ones stayed. We completely went to a seafood-based menu, left the prime rib, New York strip steaks, pork and chicken [off the menu]. Now we specialize in over 10 varieties of finfish, shellfish, lobster, etc. In 2009 we were up 40 percent over 2008. We were up another 30 percent in 2010, and in 2011 we are looking for no less than 30 percent.”
— Michael Bennett, chef of Bimini in Miami