MMO Restaurants, Again

I walk past Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli twice a day on my way to and from work.  I don’t work in New York.  The Deli opened with much fanfare about a year ago, and I remember going there on opening day with some co-workers.  The management and staff were excited with the turnout.  I could see some sparkle in the owner’s eyes as he tried to get his staff to churn out New York/Jewish deli style sandwiches.

Having actually had a Jewish-deli sandwich in Manhattan, I was not impressed.  The prices were not very good either, but the worst part was for the two-block radius around my workplace (my campus has 9000+ workers) there are six other sub shops.  Heidi’s brought absolutely nothing, except a shadow of a New York reuben, to the lunch scene.  I could get a cheaper lunch at the two equi-distant Subways or the Potbelly’s, a larger lunch at Jimmy John’s or Quizno’s, or a meatier lunch at that cheese steak place.  What we needed was a McDonald’s, or an Indian buffet, or a BBQ place; not another deli-meat sandwich shop.

So is it any wonder that they closed yesterday?  I walked past the shuttered windows this morning, and I felt some sadness.  I was there at the start, and all that is left is a show of failure.  I knew it was inevitable though, the stink of death had been there for weeks.  My only hope is, as always, the next risk-taker doesn’t just copy what is already permeating the successful local lunch culture.

on the other hand, you have different fingers

5 thoughts on “MMO Restaurants, Again”

  1. I have some friends in another city that really like Ethiopian food. So a few years ago one opened in my city and a group of us from work went to try it out. None of us liked it at all. We were not alone and the place did not last 6 months. Now if a restaurant took 4 years to build how much risk taking is advisable?

    1. (edit wanted to respond to original post but clicked wrongly – sorry to change topic… if I did)

      Let me start a chain that will beat McDonalds. I will launch with much fanfaire. I will advertise how I have better ingredients, healthier, bigger meals with better happy meal toys, all at the same price.

      Lots of customers will come on day one. The extremely long queue forces me to enlarge my kitchen, build multiple stores and rapidly expand my workforce… none of them will be adequately trained, nor do I have the necessary logistics to maintain my quality and improve my products.

      Then the QQ hits. My burgers aren’t as meaty. My vegetables aren’t as fresh as I said (well… just how fresh can vegetables get?), the stores put less sauce than advertised to be cheap… the customer service suck – someone spots them out the back smoking. People rate me down on facebook/blogs/twitter, saying I’m no better than McDonalds.

      Then somebody finds a bug in one of my burgers forcing me to defend my ingredients and suppliers. Lots of nay-sayers come and smear my chain.

      I’m now employing far more people and has far too many stores to sustain my customers. I’m forced to fire some.

      Nay-sayers return and proclaim it’s the end of my chain…

      I close shops. A dream dies. I am no better.

      Perhaps success can no longer come in a big bang. Many of the recent stories I see are smaller companies not caring to be number 1. They find a market and tries to cater to that. People are happy playing Fallen Earth, Eve Online, Restuarant City. None of these ever claimed to be a wow-killer, and their fans have no such preconception about what the game is or isn’t.

      I see my neighborhood successful eateries – they start small. Then they build a local customer base, then they adjust and expand the menu and get a name for themselves in the city. Eventually they expand their store – best by buying out the next door store and combining the two shop fronts – otherwise some have moved to a larger premise nearby and maintained the customers.

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