Bad Economies Do Not Shut Down Most Restaurants.
Ovation Brands, the “newer” owners of most of the buffet restaurants in this country
(Country Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, etc) announced the closing of
approximately one fifth of their restaurants.
As a small business consultant and coach who advocates for building solid foundations
for all small businesses, and resident of this planet, I hate to hear of all the closures,
not just because of the loss of jobs for so many, or because it was favorite eating spot
for a lot of people (Hi Grandma!) and they will miss it, but more so, because,
I hate to see any business fail, especially when I believe that almost all failures
I hear many people throwing the bad economy (yes IT IS to bad- most people are
out of work and on some form of gov’t assistance or underemployed- but that is
another story all together) up as a reason for the closures, but although it played
a part, it was not nearly the culprit most would like to believe.
All you need to do is look around at the ones that are “standing room only” 4-5 nights a week.
There is no bad economy at work there. Nor are there hordes of people forking over their cash,
who are unhappy with the service, the food, the prices or the atmosphere.
Yes, a lot of businesses do fail in bad economies (lost 3 myself thanks to the disaster in ‘08),
but there are usually a lot of other reasons for the closures/losses/bankruptcies that are closer
to the real culprit, but understanding or admitting this takes some real thought and major guts,
and most people (especially the peeps at the top) refuse to do the former, and quite frankly,
do not have the latter.
It takes guts to say, “I was so stuck on “ME” that I refused to consider that what I know or think
I know might not have been right for this time or circumstance, so I just kept forcing everyone to
do the same old tired useless crap while I watched it flounder and flounder until
it gasped it’s last breath.”
Bad practices from the powers that actually had the ability to do something about it –
is the major reason.
I have seen them foolishly tie hands, refuse to consider a pivot or to fund new innovations
as “too risky” or insist on standing on the worn out practices of yesterday, all the while placing
the blame for failure on the local level management or staff.
The willingness to think outside the box and pivot matters in today’s economic situation more
than any time in our recent history, because we are in the middle of
a complete societal and economic change. One that is ending the industrial revolution
and bringing in a new economic base, one that we have yet to figure out.
Will it be an informational base, a service base, a tech base, or a destructive base
(which WILL happen when socialism gets a bit more entrenched)
Yes, there is a wise adage that says “when you fail, try try again”. And those are
great words to live by if you understand what they mean. They do NOT mean we
are to keep trying the same faulty things that failed each time.
As the saying goes, and NO, Einstein did NOT say it, “The definition of insanity is
doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”
The saying actually means, Keep trying until you Succeed.
(or to be even more clear- Keep trying different things until you FIND what DOES work
and you are no longer failing) Duh!
Everyone and their dog has heard this, except apparently, the C level of most
“failing” corporations, (Roll of the eyes goes here.) and that’s a shame.
And therein lies the problem with most C’s. They are so removed from reality
that they are still living and doing business as they did in the 20th century.
Yes, they are savvy enough to admit that the internet is more than a fad, but they still
refuse to SEE or acknowledge that it has changed the world and the way the world
does business. Forever.
And I suppose that that is why in the last decade (YES, I said decade for heaven sake)
or so of lagging sales, the idiot CEO’s of this chain (both old and the new) did not take
it upon themselves to look around, see what year it was, and learn how to pivot.
When sales are down and the business model is tired… you do not keep dragging it along
in dirty pajamas, you figure out a way refresh it and Pivot. Then you market that pivot
to the world (or whatever your demo is) so they know you have changed.
This is more true in restaurants than anything since tastes change, and new foods and
ways of eating pop up over time. To stay the same and ignore the reality of life is just dumb.
Sorry to see you go, as are the people you employed and the neighborhoods you occupied.