Against All Odds Restaurants Continue to Open

Posted by R.K. Gella

A willingness to roll the dice is pertinent in launching any new business, but in times of economic in disarray coupled with the inherent instability of restaurant industry, are new restaurants lining up for Russian roulette?

One would’ve anticipated a massive seizure within the gears of the industry after the economic wrench was tossed in, but it appears only to have resulted in a momentary slow down.

Restaurants continue to open.  Even if so many are closing or on the brink, there remains no shortage of new ventures to take their place.  A predominance of these budding establishments are in New York City, which at one time, some critics felt might be impenetrable to the recession.

It has been proven otherwise.  However, the vitality of the restaurant industry continues to pump, despite the faint and sporadic pulse.  According to Eater NYC, roughly 17 new restaurants have opened in the month of December while 12 have closed.

And with many predicting doomsday for a large percentage of restaurants next month the competitive spirit of the industry thrives.

Several recently opened restaurants have ensured confidence with the support of a tenured team.  Txkito, Boqueria SoHo and L’Artusi, all of which have opened over the passed month to early success, have benefited from having established chefs and restaurateurs.

But for the first-time restaurateurs who were just now able to secure a business loan are they worse off than they’re seasoned competitors?  Perhaps it’s the wrong time to open a restaurant but when is it ever the right time?

As Tim and Nina Zagat editorialized in October, “people still have to eat.”

Short of a full-scale depression, it’s unlikely that our economic woes will dampen the excitement about food and dining that has become part of our cultural fabric over the past three decades.

The financial downturn may have an upside for restaurants. In the throes of the Great Depression, Americans turned to entertainment – especially the movies – to forget their troubles. Today, for a generation that has grown up on The Food Network, dining out with friends or family in an attractive restaurant has become a source of comfort and entertainment.

The tone of optimism shouldn’t encourage haphazard ventures, for again people are eating out less and restaurants are closing, but opening a restaurant now doesn’t befall immediate disaster.

In fact if your restaurant specializes in cheap beer, firearms and soup you might be sitting on a gold mine.  Advertising Age has come out with a list of recession-proof businesses that include mouthguards, laxatives and spam.  Um… let’s keep those last three mentioned out of any prospective business plans.

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