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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: obstinate on November 08, 2017, 09:56:08 PM

Title: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: obstinate on November 08, 2017, 09:56:08 PM
https://torontolife.com/food/restaurant-ruined-life/

The mistakes start on line one and never stop.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: englishteacheralex on November 08, 2017, 11:39:48 PM
This was so hard to read. This guy...what a fool...it's such an odd article to attempt to read, because the whole mess was so utterly predictable right from the first paragraph.

What kind of hubris would allow someone with no restaurant experience whatsoever to attempt this? I spent four summers in college working back of the house at a very well managed resort restaurant. Fun, but crazy hard work. My mind had a hard time processing how dumb it would be to take something like this on after the experience of actually working at a restaurant.

And how, how? did all these silly people get sucked into lending him money?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: runbikerun on November 09, 2017, 12:23:58 AM
He did a test event, and lost money, then kept going. Why on earth would anyone do that?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: slugline on November 09, 2017, 08:13:25 AM
This kind of reminds me of Mr. Money Mustache’s Big Mistake (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/02/01/mr-money-mustaches-big-mistake/) except MMM was much better prepared to weather a bad business venture.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: englishteacheralex on November 09, 2017, 08:37:37 AM
Of course I read the comments. Oodles of people cheering him on because he "took a risk"!

My favorite comments were the scolds. One guy said, no, he didn't take a risk, he intentionally jumped out of a plane without a parachute and hoped to be able to fly. I loved that.

I don't think I'd have been as nice as the wife was. I probably would have dropped the hammer and moved out just as he was borrowing $60k from his retirement for this foolish, foolish boondoggle.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: CNM on November 09, 2017, 08:46:27 AM
Wow what a heartbreaking article.  I can see how it happened- you have a dream, you launch it (which is admirable), you have some moderate success, but you can't make ends meet and you pour more and more money into it until you are financially and emotionally ruined. UGH.  How sad.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: boyerbt on November 09, 2017, 09:02:57 AM
Several of the comments state that people "pile on" the negative comments and have no empathy for this guy but I agree with the "pile on" group as most do.

This guy did not seem to do his due diligence very well beforehand to ensure even in the slightest degree as to what it would take to make it in the restaurant industry. His own words lead me to believe that he coasted through his three months at another restaurant to get his liquor license instead using this valuable time to learn from a successfully running restaurant. He was shocked by how quickly the money runs out but I was blown away that he thought he was going to make this dream happen with $60k! I know of a couple who did something very similar but ended up dropping over 5x that money and still couldn't make it happen and now they are looking to sell the building. I cannot fathom how some people can just underestimate what resources/time/talent/etc that something will take to be successful.

On that note, I too love to cook and thought that it would be great to have my own. Then I met a a few real cooks and heard the horror stories along with the terrible hours - no thanks
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Ann on November 09, 2017, 09:25:44 AM
What surprises me is he mentioned his "well-worn copy" of Kitchen Confidential.  I enjoyed that book.  Anthony Bourdain has a chapter entitled "Owner's Syndrome and Other Medical Anomalies"

Some quotes just from the fist of that chapter:
"To want to owner a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction.  What causes such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people?  Why would anyone who has worked hard, saved money and often been successful in other fields want to pump his hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically, at least, will prove dry?  Why venture into an industry with enormous fixed expenses (rent, electricity, gas, water, linen, maintenance, insurance, license fees, trash removal, etc) with notoriously transient and unstable workforce and highly perishable inventory of assets?. .  . . The easy answer is, of course, is ego.  The classic example is the retired dentist who was always told he threw a great dinner party . . . Unsurprisingly, a retired dentist who starts a restaurant for the sex, or to be told he's marvelous, is totally unprepared for the realities of the business.  He's completely blindsided when the place doesn't start making money immediately.  Undercapitalized, uneducated about the arcane requirements of new grease traps, frequent refrigeration repairs and unforeseen equipment replacement, when business drops, or fails to improve, he panics, starts looking for a quick fix . . . "

Whyyyyyyy would he and his wife believe that opening ANY small business would allow him to be home in time to see his children?  Especially a restaurant?   
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MountainFlower on November 09, 2017, 09:31:54 AM
We knew someone who did this.  He and his wife opened a restaurant in a rural area near a large lake that was popular for fisherman and boaters.  He had never even worked in a restaurant.  He served high end food and no alcohol...to people there on weekends to boat.  Yeah, that didn't last long.  It took years to sell it.   The arrogance was just dripping from him initially. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on November 09, 2017, 09:48:05 AM
There's a gigantic difference between being the person who waits tables or prepares the sauces and being the person responsible for the logistics of the whole situation.

Hosting great dinner parties in no way qualifies a person to run a restaurant. It qualifies a person to book the private room in someone else's restaurant and use it for a hosted dinner party if the dining room table is too small. Or, it might make a person marginally more competent about planning a larger event like a retirement party or wedding reception. That's about all it does.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Travis on November 09, 2017, 10:44:13 AM
Several of the comments state that people "pile on" the negative comments and have no empathy for this guy but I agree with the "pile on" group as most do.

This guy did not seem to do his due diligence very well beforehand to ensure even in the slightest degree as to what it would take to make it in the restaurant industry. His own words lead me to believe that he coasted through his three months at another restaurant to get his liquor license instead using this valuable time to learn from a successfully running restaurant. He was shocked by how quickly the money runs out but I was blown away that he thought he was going to make this dream happen with $60k! I know of a couple who did something very similar but ended up dropping over 5x that money and still couldn't make it happen and now they are looking to sell the building. I cannot fathom how some people can just underestimate what resources/time/talent/etc that something will take to be successful.

On that note, I too love to cook and thought that it would be great to have my own. Then I met a a few real cooks and heard the horror stories along with the terrible hours - no thanks

That was a cringe-worthy read. I appreciate that he's laying everything out with the benefit of hindsight as a lesson, but at that time what "gut instinct" told him to keep moving forward on this obvious disaster?

I used to watch those bar and restaurant rescue reality shows.  While they each lost their appeal to me after a season I learned some interesting tidbits.  Many of the bar owners featured on the show were of the "we have some money to burn" or "I like drinking, so I'll open a bar" variety and predictably had no idea what they were doing.  The show hosts had mentioned numerous times that a successful restaurant/bar launch costs upwards of $100k for proper remodeling, upgrades, advertising, and supplies.  When he did the quick math on the literal rat's nest he wanted to buy and figured he only had enough money to slap on some paint he should have bailed on the whole enterprise.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: NoStacheOhio on November 09, 2017, 10:51:58 AM
What surprises me is he mentioned his "well-worn copy" of Kitchen Confidential.  I enjoyed that book.  Anthony Bourdain has a chapter entitled "Owner's Syndrome and Other Medical Anomalies"

Some quotes just from the fist of that chapter:
"To want to owner a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction.  What causes such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people?  Why would anyone who has worked hard, saved money and often been successful in other fields want to pump his hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically, at least, will prove dry?  Why venture into an industry with enormous fixed expenses (rent, electricity, gas, water, linen, maintenance, insurance, license fees, trash removal, etc) with notoriously transient and unstable workforce and highly perishable inventory of assets?. .  . . The easy answer is, of course, is ego.  The classic example is the retired dentist who was always told he threw a great dinner party . . . Unsurprisingly, a retired dentist who starts a restaurant for the sex, or to be told he's marvelous, is totally unprepared for the realities of the business.  He's completely blindsided when the place doesn't start making money immediately.  Undercapitalized, uneducated about the arcane requirements of new grease traps, frequent refrigeration repairs and unforeseen equipment replacement, when business drops, or fails to improve, he panics, starts looking for a quick fix . . . "

Whyyyyyyy would he and his wife believe that opening ANY small business would allow him to be home in time to see his children?  Especially a restaurant?

I thought of that book before I even clicked the link.

How could anyone read that and not understand how hard it is to run a restaurant? And how being good at it doesn't even guarantee success.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Helvegen on November 09, 2017, 10:55:59 AM
In hindsight, he just should have become one of the many homecook bloggers/vloggers instead of trying to open up his own restaurant.

Live and learn. Some lessons are clearly more expensive than others.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MgoSam on November 09, 2017, 11:09:22 AM
I generally applaud people for taking risks and leaving the cubicle culture but I cannot muster any applause for this guy.

He tried to start a restaurant with a mere $60k. He found a building that was in shitty case and convinced himself that it would be perfect. He knew nothing about setting up a business (paid a lawyer to do what he could do only his own, something a talk with an accountant would have fixed) and didn't use the 3 months he spent working at a restaurant to learn.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: CNM on November 09, 2017, 11:38:30 AM
I am all for people to do their thing and open their own businesses.  It takes guts to do it. In this guy's case, with the benefit of hindsight of course, there were many ways to break into the restaurant business with way less risk.  His food stall thing was a great 1st step, but he should have followed it up with another small step- doing another festival, setting up a menu that generates a profit, looking into the necessary steps to get a license for commercial foods, perhaps open a food truck or weekly food stand somewhere, doing some pop-up events or catering, and so on and so on until the final step of becoming a restaurateur.

My spouse worked as a chef for many years.  It is hilarious how being a chef/working in a restaurant is romanticized.  It could not be farther from the truth, even in "fancy" restaurants.  This guy was actually pretty lucky to find such competent and reliable staff-- line chefs in particular can be a pretty shaky bunch.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Travis on November 09, 2017, 12:07:39 PM
I generally applaud people for taking risks and leaving the cubicle culture but I cannot muster any applause for this guy.

He tried to start a restaurant with a mere $60k. He found a building that was in shitty case and convinced himself that it would be perfect. He knew nothing about setting up a business (paid a lawyer to do what he could do only his own, something a talk with an accountant would have fixed) and didn't use the 3 months he spent working at a restaurant to learn.

This gets me the most.  I can see how optimism may have blinded him to the other otherwise glaring holes in his logic, but how could he convince himself that 3 months was enough to learn anything about anything?  In his narrative he even called it "checking the block" in order to get his liquor license.  Even speaking from hindsight he admits his goal wasn't to actually learn anything from that job.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Just Joe on November 09, 2017, 03:25:26 PM
Great article. I love getting a glimpse into someone's business like that. So much to learn. The reality TV versions are never as interesting to me as this article was.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: paddedhat on November 09, 2017, 03:33:00 PM
I didn't even dig into this one yet, but it looks good. After opening the piece and looking at the long subtitle, outlining his woes, one thing immediately came to mind.  if you even spent a week working in the back of the house, or even reading a damn Anthony Bordain book, this NEVER would of happened.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Ann on November 09, 2017, 03:48:57 PM
I didn't even dig into this one yet, but it looks good. After opening the piece and looking at the long subtitle, outlining his woes, one thing immediately came to mind.  if you even spent a week working in the back of the house, or even reading a damn Anthony Bordain book, this NEVER would of happened.
You would think, but apparently he has read and re-read Bordain's Kitchen Confidential and still didn't get it.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Chesleygirl on November 09, 2017, 03:56:11 PM
I live in a city with a lot of restaurants. There is a lot of competition. It's not really wise to start up a restaurant here unless one does careful research first.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: paddedhat on November 09, 2017, 04:04:12 PM
I didn't even dig into this one yet, but it looks good. After opening the piece and looking at the long subtitle, outlining his woes, one thing immediately came to mind.  if you even spent a week working in the back of the house, or even reading a damn Anthony Bordain book, this NEVER would of happened.
You would think, but apparently he has read and re-read Bordain's Kitchen Confidential and still didn't get it.

Well, after reading the whole piece, one thing is really clear. This guy is a narcissist who believed that he possessed greatness, as such, he felt that the details were beneath him. Like previously mentioned, he did a big event, and had great feedback, but lost his ass. He was required to put three months of time in, working in the industry, but treated it like a joke, and only put a few hours in, every so often, and largely got in the way. He claims to have dog eared a copy of Kitchen Confidential, but failed to learn anything of value in a book that should of been a life saver. Finally, he spent $80K+, was bleeding cash like a gut shot pig, and hadn't even given a single thought to tracking costs?  If you don't know, to the fucking penny, what your food costs are, as a percentage of sales, you're fucked. This guy not only didn't know, he didn't know that it's about the single most important number in your life, if you want to make it. What a putz.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on November 09, 2017, 04:14:47 PM
Shaking my head from beginning to end reading this fascinating and anxiety inducing article. He ended up with an expensive and painful lesson in humility.

I grew up working in the family business (retail, not restaurant). Most businesses are high overhead and low margin, and most people grossly underestimate how difficult it is to make a business successful. Long hours, commitment, stress, negotiating savvy, people skills, organization, business sense, and a good deal of luck. Employees would sometimes see the results of the till being closed out at the end of the day and conclude they were underpaid while my parents lit cigars with 100 dollar bills. But the truth was, after taxes, labor, materials, rent, insurance, repairs, etc. it was very tough going. My parents made an okay living, but at enormous personal cost. Honestly they would have been better off had they climbed the corporate ladder as a cubicle dweller.

It's the height of arrogance for this guy to assume, with no real world experience, that since others have succeed then he should be able to as well. It completely ignores the hard earned skills, experience, and network that restaurateurs spend years mastering before you see them swaggering around their restaurant shooting the shit with patrons.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Chesleygirl on November 09, 2017, 04:47:25 PM
A LOT of people think being self-employed means having an easy life. I run into this mentality all the time. It's the same b.s. that MLMs are selling: be your own boss. set your own hours. have it easy. don't answer to anyone else. you are your own boss. you are an entrepreneur. it's going to be easy street.

I think 90% of businesses fail because people who start them think it will be easy, because they'll be their own boss.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Helvegen on November 09, 2017, 04:47:39 PM
I generally applaud people for taking risks and leaving the cubicle culture but I cannot muster any applause for this guy.

He tried to start a restaurant with a mere $60k. He found a building that was in shitty case and convinced himself that it would be perfect. He knew nothing about setting up a business (paid a lawyer to do what he could do only his own, something a talk with an accountant would have fixed) and didn't use the 3 months he spent working at a restaurant to learn.

This gets me the most.  I can see how optimism may have blinded him to the other otherwise glaring holes in his logic, but how could he convince himself that 3 months was enough to learn anything about anything?  In his narrative he even called it "checking the block" in order to get his liquor license.  Even speaking from hindsight he admits his goal wasn't to actually learn anything from that job.

He never wanted to work at a restaurant, just own one. He figured he would write up some genius recipes, hand them off to an actual professional to tweak and cook, and then let the thing go on its own. With that short sighted attitude, he saw no reason to actually learn how to do anything. His minons would take care of the shit work while he counted cash and had lazy morning shopping trips with the wife. Where's the problem?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TempusFugit on November 09, 2017, 05:12:51 PM
The takeaway I got from the article was that this is an example of how lots and lots of businesses ARE successful - by buying out the guy who sank a fortune into it and now has to dump it at a huge loss because he couldn't or didn't do the math on the front end. 

It is often not the first company that introduces a new widget / service / whatever, but the follow-ons that don't have the huge front end costs of building up a market or building out infrastructure, etc. 

So, sad as it is for the sap (more so his family) in the article, the next guy has a much better chance.  Sometimes in our capitalist system there are those who serve as grist for the mill.  A necessary part of the overall system. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: ACyclist on November 09, 2017, 08:36:04 PM
OOF!  Tough to read for sure.  It seems very romantic and awesome to have a restaurant or a business.  You better be good or it can demolish you.  Aren't restaurants one of the riskiest businesses?

My husband and I almost opened a bike shop.  To this day, I am thankful that we changed our minds. The brick and mortar shop is in serious jeopardy with brands like Canyon direct shipping and online accessory availability just crushing it in regards to price.  Your only hope is one killer service Dept.  But, I digress here.

The other thing about being a restaurant owner, is burnout.  Personally, I love to cook.  I love preparing a beautiful meal.  It would be concerning to lose the passion.  Not everyone is a Magnus Nilsson.  It takes some luck, a ton of talent and finding that niche.  I imagine some chefs get so sick of cooking that they come home and eat boxes mac.  HAHA
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Chesleygirl on November 10, 2017, 12:53:32 PM
Maybe his food was awful or the service was poor?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MgoSam on November 10, 2017, 01:12:29 PM
The takeaway I got from the article was that this is an example of how lots and lots of businesses ARE successful - by buying out the guy who sank a fortune into it and now has to dump it at a huge loss because he couldn't or didn't do the math on the front end. 


I know some people that have made a fortune doing that. One of my dad's friends does that full time. He'll contact a few brokers and find a business that is poorly run to buy and work a few years and then sell it. He's owned a garage door company, a jewelry store, and a few other diverse businesses.

OOF!  Tough to read for sure.  It seems very romantic and awesome to have a restaurant or a business.  You better be good or it can demolish you.  Aren't restaurants one of the riskiest businesses?

My husband and I almost opened a bike shop.  To this day, I am thankful that we changed our minds. The brick and mortar shop is in serious jeopardy with brands like Canyon direct shipping and online accessory availability just crushing it in regards to price.  Your only hope is one killer service Dept.  But, I digress here.

Yeah, restaurants are among the most likely to fail businesses. There are just too many factors that go into it. I feel (don't have any numbers to back this up) that a good reason restaurants fail is that the people starting them want a 'prestige' place, they want to own a restaurant that is exclusive or is the type that people will brag that they went to over the weekend. While these restaurants can make money, they are also extremely expensive to run (have to have great chefs, foods), cater to a smaller crowd, and are dependent on a lot of market forces (French might lose favor, recession, ect), whereas a restaurant that served mid-level priced foods might have a much wider audience.

Agreed on bike stores. I don't bike so I can't speak to it, but I imagine that the stores that do survive are the ones that offer exceptional customer service and repair bikes.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: EricL on November 10, 2017, 01:25:10 PM
That was painful and sad to read. 

I know one guy who's a successful restauranteur.  He's kept his gourmet restaurant running for over 25 years.  This in a town where the only people making money consistently at it are restaurant supply companies and building contractors who install commercial kitchens then tear them out 3 - 12 months later.  It helps his family cooked professionally since the American Civil War and ran restaurants off and on for almost a century.  It's definitely a plus he's a talented cook.  Even so he has a work ethic which varies from heroic to insane.  Starting out he came in at 6 AM and left after midnight 7 days a week for years.  When he became successful he moderated to merely 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.  I'm not sure he has a retirement plan beyond finishing the last order of the night.

I'd advise anyone wanting to start a restaurant to pick up a crack cocaine or gambling habit instead.  They'll at least have some fun on the way down the hole.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: NoraLenderbee on November 10, 2017, 01:35:16 PM
What.A.Moron.
He seems completely incapable of forethought, or of imagining the results of his actions. He closed for a week to take a vacation, and was devastated to discover that meant no income for a week. Yet the utility bill still had to be paid, OMG, who could have foreseen that??!?!!?!??! Every single one of his disasters was totally predictable. He bought a fixer-upper but reserved NO money for actually fixing it up. I cannot believe this guy is able to wipe his own ass.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Chesleygirl on November 10, 2017, 01:39:02 PM
What.A.Moron.
He seems completely incapable of forethought, or of imagining the results of his actions. He closed for a week to take a vacation, and was devastated to discover that meant no income for a week. Yet the utility bill still had to be paid, OMG, who could have foreseen that??!?!!?!??! Every single one of his disasters was totally predictable. He bought a fixer-upper but reserved NO money for actually fixing it up. I cannot believe this guy is able to wipe his own ass.

He's too dumb to run a business or possibly, to even work for one. I've seen other people try to run a business like that, their businesses all failed. They think being self employed is easy street and means they can go lay on the beach all day, soaking up the sun.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Travis on November 10, 2017, 01:57:48 PM
Maybe his food was awful or the service was poor?

If you're referring to the subject of the article, no.  He received great reviews for his business. He just had no idea how to run it. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 10, 2017, 02:17:27 PM
I see this as one more example of the capitalist myth that you can have anything you want, be anything you want 'if you just work hard enough'. Poor guy.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: EricL on November 10, 2017, 04:03:21 PM
I see this as one more example of the capitalist myth that you can have anything you want, be anything you want 'if you just work hard enough'. Poor guy.

Smart has to come into play somewhere.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 10, 2017, 07:06:20 PM
I see this as one more example of the capitalist myth that you can have anything you want, be anything you want 'if you just work hard enough'. Poor guy.

Smart has to come into play somewhere.

Easier said than done when you've been conditioned to believe something your whole life. No one ever says 'no, you can't be an astronaut. The odd against it are frickin astronomical, even if you're a goddamn genius', or 'no, you can't be an oscar winning actor. Buy lotto tickets instead, cos the chances are higher'. There are millions of people working their arses off right now for a goal that they can't possibly achieve. It's the western way. It's how a lot of people get through the day serving coffee, or pumping gas or checking groceries.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: snowball on November 10, 2017, 09:43:59 PM
It also didn't seem like this guy's plan was to work hard.  He wanted someone else to cook his recipes, and someone else to do the serving, while he spent time out front just hanging out with customers, or playing with a new recipe, and left work early...

...I don't know how a person can expect to get *anywhere* with their own business when they're not working hard at it.  You have to build some sweat equity, and hope that down the line it pays off.  He seemed to expect that the only thing he really had to put in was that initial $60K.  Despite having access to the advice of people who were experienced and knew better.  There's magical thinking all over the place in this story.

(ETA: I admit he did start working hard when he realized he had to, but it needed to be part of his original plan.  And he needed to work a heck of a lot harder *at* the planning.  That looked awfully half-assed, even to me, and I know very little about the restaurant business.)
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MarciaB on November 11, 2017, 08:05:21 AM
It's a nicely written piece. And I sort of collect things like this (I work with local folks to help them start and run businesses).

A good cautionary tale can do wonders to open the eyes of someone who is working hard to lose their money and sanity. Just the part where he did one event and lost money but had a great time....uh no. Even that one nugget would be a basis for a frank discussion of the living hell that awaits.

I'm sorry he didn't seek advice from people who could have steered him away from this. Or at least talked him down to a smaller version (do a few more events, or start a small catering company to test out some of the ideas, or even do a small food truck to see how it goes if you can't be talked out of it, etc.). But if you're determined to reach for the stars [or insert other cliche here] it's hard to stop you. A fool and his money...
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: KodeBlue on November 11, 2017, 02:17:39 PM
Alcohol also seems to have played a role in some of his poor decisions.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: ambimammular on November 11, 2017, 02:18:32 PM
I imagine some chefs get so sick of cooking that they come home and eat boxes mac.  HAHA

Best man at our wedding was a head chef at a high class place. His wife was the pastry chef. The did amazing, sophisticated things with their menu, and when they went home ate good cheese, sliced fruit, and bread.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MrsPete on November 13, 2017, 08:03:58 PM
I see this as one more example of the capitalist myth that you can have anything you want, be anything you want 'if you just work hard enough'. Poor guy.
Also disproves the commonly-touted phrase, "Do what you love, and the money will follow."  or the similar, "Follow your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life." 

In this guy's situation, he foolishly believed "If you cook it, they will come." 

One of my husband's former co-workers did something similar to this.  He and his wife both cashed out their retirement (I assume they took a big penalty) and opened a lunch place.  In theory it was a great choice:  At that point the area was booming: They were building new office buildings everywhere, and it was literally difficult to find a place where you could get in for lunch.  A deli that served good sandwiches for a reasonable price sounded like shooting fish in a barrel ... but -- like the guy in the article -- my husband's friend didn't do his homework:  He chose a cheaper location a few miles out of the crush of business ... and people wouldn't drive that few extra miles.  Worst of all, he discovered too late that he wasn't allowed to put up a big sign at the road ... he was only allowed one sign on top of his store.  He had no ideas about "bringing people in".  He just thought that if he made good sandwiches, people would flock to him.  He and his wife didn't push it as long as the guy in the article.  After something like six months, they packed it up -- and went back to their old jobs. 

Easier said than done when you've been conditioned to believe something your whole life. No one ever says 'no, you can't be an astronaut. The odd against it are frickin astronomical, even if you're a goddamn genius', or 'no, you can't be an oscar winning actor. Buy lotto tickets instead, cos the chances are higher'. There are millions of people working their arses off right now for a goal that they can't possibly achieve. It's the western way. It's how a lot of people get through the day serving coffee, or pumping gas or checking groceries.
Yeah, this year I'm teaching low level classes.  Kids who don't like school and skip school regularly.  Kids who have less than a 2.0 GPA.  Kids who don't read well.  A full 25% of them fully believe they will be Dermatologists, Neuro-surgeons or Orthodontists.  Those who are a little better grounded intend to be Registered Nurses or Pharmacists (all you do is count tablets, right?).  Somehow my current students see advanced medical degrees as easily achievable.  I'm talking about kids who'd be hard pressed to hold down a job at the gas station.  They are fully entrenched in the idea that every one of us can be anything we wish -- I feel bad for them.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on November 14, 2017, 09:40:02 AM
Yeah, this year I'm teaching low level classes.  Kids who don't like school and skip school regularly.  Kids who have less than a 2.0 GPA.  Kids who don't read well.  A full 25% of them fully believe they will be Dermatologists, Neuro-surgeons or Orthodontists.  Those who are a little better grounded intend to be Registered Nurses or Pharmacists (all you do is count tablets, right?).  Somehow my current students see advanced medical degrees as easily achievable.  I'm talking about kids who'd be hard pressed to hold down a job at the gas station.  They are fully entrenched in the idea that every one of us can be anything we wish -- I feel bad for them.

Those kids are in for a rude awakening once (if?) they realize careers don't just appear like manna from heaven. Yeah, I feel sorry for them as well. Wonder how much of this feeds into the sad stories we often read about -- people who claim they've done everything right yet failed, and how the system is rigged against us. I have no doubt that "the system" is designed to extract profits (that is, it's not "for us"), but at the same time I question how realistic their expectations were to begin with. Like, what did you expect going $90k in debt for a music degree (http://bencureton.com/dont-go-music-school/)? Did you really, truly, believe that a music degree would pay off?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on November 14, 2017, 09:50:15 AM
Yeah, this year I'm teaching low level classes.  Kids who don't like school and skip school regularly.  Kids who have less than a 2.0 GPA.  Kids who don't read well.  A full 25% of them fully believe they will be Dermatologists, Neuro-surgeons or Orthodontists.  Those who are a little better grounded intend to be Registered Nurses or Pharmacists (all you do is count tablets, right?).  Somehow my current students see advanced medical degrees as easily achievable.  I'm talking about kids who'd be hard pressed to hold down a job at the gas station.  They are fully entrenched in the idea that every one of us can be anything we wish -- I feel bad for them.

Those kids are in for a rude awakening once (if?) they realize careers don't just appear like manna from heaven. Yeah, I feel sorry for them as well. Wonder how much of this feeds into the sad stories we often read about -- people who claim they've done everything right yet failed, and how the system is rigged against us. I have no doubt that "the system" is designed to extract profits (that is, it's not "for us"), but at the same time I question how realistic their expectations were to begin with. Like, what did you expect going $90k in debt for a music degree (http://bencureton.com/dont-go-music-school/)? Did you really, truly, believe that a music degree would pay off?

As a host, one of my dinner party goals-- or social goals, really-- is to get people who wouldn't otherwise meet each other to cross paths and interact. Many continue a friendship independently of my involvement, but mostly I match people up when one of them needs information the other has. Last weekend I threw a dinner party to celebrate the successful book launch for one of my friends, an author in her 30s. Among the guests was a young woman, aged 21, who is a very talented artist also considering study in a career the author previously worked in prior to her writing career taking off. The author was extremely familiar with the industry and willing to dish the gritty details and talk about dollars and cents (there are no forbidden subjects at my dinners). So the cocktail conversation included a long discussion about earning capability and the dollar value of various degrees. She provided frank advice about business opportunities, and I don't know how well the advice sank in but I'm hoping it did.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: dreadmoose on November 14, 2017, 02:25:48 PM
Man, the complete repeat of his first experience running that booth is insane.

Not a lesson learned, you could sum up both experiences just at different levels with one line.

"Spent more than he made but got good reviews"
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 14, 2017, 04:31:18 PM
Yeah, this year I'm teaching low level classes.  Kids who don't like school and skip school regularly.  Kids who have less than a 2.0 GPA.  Kids who don't read well.  A full 25% of them fully believe they will be Dermatologists, Neuro-surgeons or Orthodontists.  Those who are a little better grounded intend to be Registered Nurses or Pharmacists (all you do is count tablets, right?).  Somehow my current students see advanced medical degrees as easily achievable.  I'm talking about kids who'd be hard pressed to hold down a job at the gas station.  They are fully entrenched in the idea that every one of us can be anything we wish -- I feel bad for them.

Those kids are in for a rude awakening once (if?) they realize careers don't just appear like manna from heaven. Yeah, I feel sorry for them as well. Wonder how much of this feeds into the sad stories we often read about -- people who claim they've done everything right yet failed, and how the system is rigged against us. I have no doubt that "the system" is designed to extract profits (that is, it's not "for us"), but at the same time I question how realistic their expectations were to begin with. Like, what did you expect going $90k in debt for a music degree (http://bencureton.com/dont-go-music-school/)? Did you really, truly, believe that a music degree would pay off?

What do you expect from a generation of kids that always got a prize because everyone did, and were always sold on the dream? It's no service to a child to never let them fail. First, it gives them a false view of the world, and second, they don't learn to recover from failure. A lot of these disappointed kids will end up badly underperforming. The rest will get very, very angry and lash at out the world. And we'll all twitter amongst ourselves about the kids of today and wonder why it's happening. It's a system that CREATES disinfranchised and angry people. Who have access to guns. Think about it.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on November 14, 2017, 04:48:39 PM
Yeah, this year I'm teaching low level classes.  Kids who don't like school and skip school regularly.  Kids who have less than a 2.0 GPA.  Kids who don't read well.  A full 25% of them fully believe they will be Dermatologists, Neuro-surgeons or Orthodontists.  Those who are a little better grounded intend to be Registered Nurses or Pharmacists (all you do is count tablets, right?).  Somehow my current students see advanced medical degrees as easily achievable.  I'm talking about kids who'd be hard pressed to hold down a job at the gas station.  They are fully entrenched in the idea that every one of us can be anything we wish -- I feel bad for them.

Those kids are in for a rude awakening once (if?) they realize careers don't just appear like manna from heaven. Yeah, I feel sorry for them as well. Wonder how much of this feeds into the sad stories we often read about -- people who claim they've done everything right yet failed, and how the system is rigged against us. I have no doubt that "the system" is designed to extract profits (that is, it's not "for us"), but at the same time I question how realistic their expectations were to begin with. Like, what did you expect going $90k in debt for a music degree (http://bencureton.com/dont-go-music-school/)? Did you really, truly, believe that a music degree would pay off?

What do you expect from a generation of kids that always got a prize because everyone did, and were always sold on the dream? It's no service to a child to never let them fail. First, it gives them a false view of the world, and second, they don't learn to recover from failure. A lot of these disappointed kids will end up badly underperforming. The rest will get very, very angry and lash at out the world. And we'll all twitter amongst ourselves about the kids of today and wonder why it's happening. It's a system that CREATES disinfranchised and angry people. Who have access to guns. Think about it.

I understand why, which is why I let my kids fail. I also discipline them, and let them experience the natural consequences of their decisions (as long as they aren't in any serious danger). But I'm considered a mean or even bad parent these days, too old fashioned. Friends and acquaintances remark about how well behaved our kids are and conclude it must be genetics...while permitting their kids to yell at them, give in to avoid making a scene, and rescue them at every turn. Heaven forbid kids ever feel any discomfort.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Shalamar on November 19, 2017, 12:25:30 PM
The bitter irony of this article is that he opened the restaurant because he loved to cook - and he didn't even do that!

My friend's son has a successful restaurant that he opened a couple of years ago.    However, it took literally years for it to become successful - and it also took a shit ton of paperwork, money, and hard work.    The key is that the son is very young (only 24), still living at home (so no mortgage or wife or kids), owns the place with several partners, and is very handy (so when stuff breaks, he can fix it himself).
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on November 19, 2017, 01:00:40 PM
The bitter irony of this article is that he opened the restaurant because he loved to cook - and he didn't even do that!


That's like opening a photography studio because you like to shoot landscape scenes, becoming a full-time writer because you like to write poetry (and then finding out that most of what the market needs is nonfiction), or becoming a mime because you like to meet and talk to new people. Making a business out of a hobby is the one way to guarantee that you'll do little or no of the work you consider "fun", and insane amounts of the kind of work you consider to be "work".
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Shalamar on November 19, 2017, 01:59:42 PM
A LOT of people think being self-employed means having an easy life. I run into this mentality all the time. It's the same b.s. that MLMs are selling: be your own boss. set your own hours. have it easy. don't answer to anyone else. you are your own boss. you are an entrepreneur. it's going to be easy street.

I think 90% of businesses fail because people who start them think it will be easy, because they'll be their own boss.

I have a friend who started his own business about ten years ago, and he had "The Four Hour Work Week" as his personal bible.   He is now - after TEN YEARS, remember - at the point where he doesn't have to work quite so hard and just watch the money roll in.   He still works damned hard, though.  If he had to do it all again, I'm sure he would, but he had some very anxious times when he thought h might lose his house.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: ice_beard on November 20, 2017, 04:40:09 PM
A close family member of mine was convinced by his much younger, second wife to pour a lot of money into renovating and old home and opening a boutique "gift" store of sorts.  This was in an economically depressed, relatively isolated rural town. 
It folded quickly and they lost a fair amount of money. 

Another family member close to them is opening another business in the same town.  I asked who was funding this and fortunately they are not.  It sounds like an economic development agency is giving a loan (they are very "anti-socialist" program types too) and I hope it makes it, but it is also "boutique-ey" and the town is still poor and isolated and another building was renovated, somewhat, to make it happen.  The economy is doing well, but once it turns, and it seems like it always turns, I wonder if it will make it. 

Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: paddedhat on November 22, 2017, 03:40:55 PM
A close family member of mine was convinced by his much younger, second wife to pour a lot of money into renovating and old home and opening a boutique "gift" store of sorts. 

Last winter we migrated from a post boom mountain community with a shit-ton of excess retail space, mostly strip store stuff. The area was famous for a Texas mentality toward zoning, and a boom that lasted decades. There was always too many strip mall stores, and lots of vacancies. The wife and I used to take bets on how many months it would take for the newest restaurant, gift shop, ceramics shop, antique store, candle store, etc..... to go from grand opening, to failed. Several of these businesses were local women who were busy doing, "what they always dreamed of". Most never made a year, and we saw a couple of restaurants fail before lift off. The tenant would dump a pile of cash into renos, schedule a grand opening, and never quite get the door open. The other interesting thing was how many high dollar, yet failing, enterprises like night clubs, big eating establishments, etc.... ended up burning to the ground.

My favorite is a really sharp gift shop in a western mountain town, that we have spent a lot of time in. The place has been open for maybe a decade, but it always made me think, when we walked through. The owners are really well dressed, like they just stepped out of a high end western clothing photo shoot, and the place is extremely well done. The building was a hugely expensive renovation of a turn of the century mercantile and it is stunning. The odd part is that the tourists passing through town are not usually high rollers, and this place looked like it should be in Aspen or Jackson, WY. The other interesting thing is that is it a very seasonal location, and from middle fall to the end of the spring, the place is pretty lonely. I asked a friend about it, since he was a local. He laughed, and explained that the owner's are trophy wives of some very, very wealthy local men, and no the place does stand a chance in hell of making money, but it "keeps the ladies busy".  well, alrighty then.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: paddedhat on November 22, 2017, 03:48:27 PM

Another family member close to them is opening another business in the same town.  I asked who was funding this and fortunately they are not.  It sounds like an economic development agency is giving a loan (they are very "anti-socialist" program types too)

Sounds like some of the farmers I know. They hate the government, liberals, dems, blah, blah, blah................ But have no problem waiting by the mailbox for that government check to roll in. "yep, just got my crop insurance check. Fifth time I had a claim, in the last eight years".  But if you are a minority and getting a dime for any reason, from anybody but your employer, well, you're part of the problem.  It's enough to make your head explode.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Timmm on November 22, 2017, 04:59:41 PM
The other interesting thing was how many high dollar, yet failing, enterprises like night clubs, big eating establishments, etc.... ended up burning to the ground.

I used to work for a company that provided services to a specific and generally "romantic" type of retail shop. When one of these shops cancelled some service, they'd record a reason for it - I think it was 8 or 9 of the most common. "Burned to the ground" was usually in the top three and generally understood to be the exit plan for most.

We knew a very successful guy who had always dreamed of opening a restaurant, and finally did it with pretty big fanfare. He had the means to hire out all of the unpleasant work, and didn't have to skimp on a nonprime location or really anything else. It seemed like a bustling business, but I asked him a month or two after opening if the business really was as hard to make self-sustaining as even an outsider like me expected. He said, "Let's put it this way: I'm not quitting my day job"
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: BTDretire on November 29, 2017, 07:56:05 PM
A LOT of people think being self-employed means having an easy life. I run into this mentality all the time. It's the same b.s. that MLMs are selling: be your own boss. set your own hours. have it easy. don't answer to anyone else. you are your own boss. you are an entrepreneur. it's going to be easy street.

I think 90% of businesses fail because people who start them think it will be easy, because they'll be their own boss.
  I won't be very specific, but my wife and I are self employed, selling one single food item.
It started as a side hustle for my wife, she did it for 3 or 4 hours a day after her regular job.
At some point my work was slow, so I started working mornings and she would come in the afternoon. We parked in a public area and used our existing vehicle, making our overhead very low. About 1 or 2 years in, my wife said, "why don't you quit your job and do this full time?
I said I will--- if you will. We started full time and not to long after that we were forced to rent a spot, which worked out very well, because of comfort, heating cooling and a better overall appearance. Our cost increased but still very low by any business standard.
  Our nut is about $30 a day, we more than double the price of our product so our break even
point is $60 in sales. We have been at it 15 years.
 Now the hard part, we were both working 50 to 60 hours a week, (a little less in winter)  more than 10 hours a day, 7 days, 363 days a year and life was all about the business. I remember one year, we dropped down to 362 days, we took Easter off :-) Just the two of us.
  Did we make any money, most would say no, we made about $15 an hour, it was a lot of hours. The yearly income was about 2.5 times what we were making before the business.
 Even with the higher income we continued to live frugally and are now FI.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: mre on November 30, 2017, 11:38:20 AM
Found an earlier article about the owner when everything was supposedly going swimmingly.  After reading the article about his life being ruined it is a good reminder that you never can tell what somebody is going through by what they present publicly.

https://baronmag.ca/2014/12/office-tale-of-robert-maxwell-ownerproprietor-of-the-beech-tree-restaurant-and-bar/


I do find the title "A Restaurant Ruined My Life" to be a bit telling of this guy's problem.  "I Ruined My Life with a Restaurant" would be much more accurate.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Michael in ABQ on November 30, 2017, 12:12:40 PM
A close family member of mine was convinced by his much younger, second wife to pour a lot of money into renovating and old home and opening a boutique "gift" store of sorts. 

Last winter we migrated from a post boom mountain community with a shit-ton of excess retail space, mostly strip store stuff. The area was famous for a Texas mentality toward zoning, and a boom that lasted decades. There was always too many strip mall stores, and lots of vacancies. The wife and I used to take bets on how many months it would take for the newest restaurant, gift shop, ceramics shop, antique store, candle store, etc..... to go from grand opening, to failed. Several of these businesses were local women who were busy doing, "what they always dreamed of". Most never made a year, and we saw a couple of restaurants fail before lift off. The tenant would dump a pile of cash into renos, schedule a grand opening, and never quite get the door open. The other interesting thing was how many high dollar, yet failing, enterprises like night clubs, big eating establishments, etc.... ended up burning to the ground.

My favorite is a really sharp gift shop in a western mountain town, that we have spent a lot of time in. The place has been open for maybe a decade, but it always made me think, when we walked through. The owners are really well dressed, like they just stepped out of a high end western clothing photo shoot, and the place is extremely well done. The building was a hugely expensive renovation of a turn of the century mercantile and it is stunning. The odd part is that the tourists passing through town are not usually high rollers, and this place looked like it should be in Aspen or Jackson, WY. The other interesting thing is that is it a very seasonal location, and from middle fall to the end of the spring, the place is pretty lonely. I asked a friend about it, since he was a local. He laughed, and explained that the owner's are trophy wives of some very, very wealthy local men, and no the place does stand a chance in hell of making money, but it "keeps the ladies busy".  well, alrighty then.

I work in the commercial real estate industry and I often hear from brokers about some rich guy building or renovating a property so that his wife could run a business. I just met with a local broker in a small mountain community at a newer brewery. He told me how the owner bought an old building and spent hundreds of thousands on renovating it and buying all the equipment to produce a few thousand barrels of beer a year. Out of 50-60 breweries in the state only the top 5-10 are producing at that level, and virtually all of those have retail distribution with cans or bottles. So less than a year after opening the guy has already put the building on the market, plus another restaurant he sunk a bunch of money into renovating (which has been closed for the last year). I doubt the place is producing or selling more than a few hundred barrels a year, mostly to tourists during the winter ski season. I suspect there's some bank out there who loaned him a bunch of money that will be taking a substantial haircut when they get back a bunch of brewing equipment and a couple of buildings in a small mountain village where literally half the retail space is vacant.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: stoaX on November 30, 2017, 01:14:23 PM
I do find the title "A Restaurant Ruined My Life" to be a bit telling of this guy's problem.  "I Ruined My Life with a Restaurant" would be much more accurate.
That's an insightful observation.   

Looking back I'm quite happy that I worked in restaurants in high school and college - it guaranteed that I would not have any romantic notions about the restaurant business.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on November 30, 2017, 01:47:42 PM
Found an earlier article about the owner when everything was supposedly going swimmingly.  After reading the article about his life being ruined it is a good reminder that you never can tell what somebody is going through by what they present publicly.

https://baronmag.ca/2014/12/office-tale-of-robert-maxwell-ownerproprietor-of-the-beech-tree-restaurant-and-bar/


I do find the title "A Restaurant Ruined My Life" to be a bit telling of this guy's problem.  "I Ruined My Life with a Restaurant" would be much more accurate.

Interesting link! To a certain extent we all work to project an image to the world, which I suppose is a reflection of how we'd like to view ourselves. In this instance the image of a creative and bohemian restauranteur cost him dearly.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Sid Hoffman on December 01, 2017, 11:09:48 AM
Also disproves the commonly-touted phrase, "Do what you love, and the money will follow."  or the similar, "Follow your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Exactly what I came to post.  I see this all the time on Twitter and Imgur, which are dominated by 15-24 year olds.  They truly believe that if you aren't following your passion, that means you are lost as a person and have a worthless life.  Meanwhile those same people rarely volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on.  The very things that I and many other older people view as giving my life value.

It was years ago I had a boss say that she worked to live, she didn't live to work.  It's a cliché now, but at the time it really put things in perspective for me.  It was ok to not feel like a rockstar on stage when I came to work, sat down at my cubicle and started churning out automation scripts, debugging failures, and resolving trouble tickets for other teams.  My worth and value were not in my career, they were based on who I am as a person, which extends far beyond just my job.  It was actually quite liberating to not feel like I had to derive worth from my job.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: ixtap on December 01, 2017, 11:27:26 AM
Also disproves the commonly-touted phrase, "Do what you love, and the money will follow."  or the similar, "Follow your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Exactly what I came to post.  I see this all the time on Twitter and Imgur, which are dominated by 15-24 year olds.  They truly believe that if you aren't following your passion, that means you are lost as a person and have a worthless life.  Meanwhile those same people rarely volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on.  The very things that I and many other older people view as giving my life value.

It was years ago I had a boss say that she worked to live, she didn't live to work.  It's a cliché now, but at the time it really put things in perspective for me.  It was ok to not feel like a rockstar on stage when I came to work, sat down at my cubicle and started churning out automation scripts, debugging failures, and resolving trouble tickets for other teams.  My worth and value were not in my career, they were based on who I am as a person, which extends far beyond just my job.  It was actually quite liberating to not feel like I had to derive worth from my job.

I just don't get the leap from "I love cooking" to "I should open a restaurant." If you love cooking, become a chef or a caterer, running a restaurant is for someone who loves organizing and accounting.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: zinnie on December 01, 2017, 11:43:16 AM
Wow this article stressed me out. And he made lots of bad choices, clearly, but I also felt for the guy. There is certainly a cultural issue at the forefront of this as well--the "follow your passion" mentality that I see in a lot in my peer group. They make a lot of bad choices when they believe that they should just follow their dreams and the rest will work itself out.

At least he learned something! And hopefully will inspire others to think twice before going on the same path.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Ann on December 01, 2017, 11:44:20 AM
I just don't get the leap from "I love cooking" to "I should open a restaurant." If you love cooking, become a chef or a caterer, running a restaurant is for someone who loves organizing and accounting.

Yes!  Or maybe work on making that food truck profitable . . . a smaller operation.  I can't believe he promised his wife to be home in time to tuck the kids in.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: vivophoenix on December 01, 2017, 01:19:49 PM
Also disproves the commonly-touted phrase, "Do what you love, and the money will follow."  or the similar, "Follow your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Exactly what I came to post.  I see this all the time on Twitter and Imgur, which are dominated by 15-24 year olds.  They truly believe that if you aren't following your passion, that means you are lost as a person and have a worthless life.  Meanwhile those same people rarely volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on.  The very things that I and many other older people view as giving my life value.

It was years ago I had a boss say that she worked to live, she didn't live to work.  It's a cliché now, but at the time it really put things in perspective for me.  It was ok to not feel like a rockstar on stage when I came to work, sat down at my cubicle and started churning out automation scripts, debugging failures, and resolving trouble tickets for other teams.  My worth and value were not in my career, they were based on who I am as a person, which extends far beyond just my job.  It was actually quite liberating to not feel like I had to derive worth from my job.

i don't agree that the definition of a meaningful life should include:  volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on. this assumes you find value in centering other people. it's not a millennial thing to want possessions. millennials did not invent the concept of keeping up with the Joneses.  if anything working in your 'passion' is freeing. previously people received validation from types of jobs, and often those jobs were either considered hardworking or high earning, or both. But these are external influences. ( people wanted to be Drs and lawyers or police officers) now people want to do what brings them joy. and often money does follow. but the amount of money does vary. the problem is attitudes towards displays of wealth and dominance have not caught up yet.

why do you think hipsters are a thing?

 people who love cheap unpopular shit and use it as power displays:  that's a millennial thing.


Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Miss Piggy on December 01, 2017, 01:46:59 PM
The guy may have a future as a writer...assuming he wrote the story.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on December 01, 2017, 01:54:29 PM
Also disproves the commonly-touted phrase, "Do what you love, and the money will follow."  or the similar, "Follow your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Exactly what I came to post.  I see this all the time on Twitter and Imgur, which are dominated by 15-24 year olds.  They truly believe that if you aren't following your passion, that means you are lost as a person and have a worthless life.  Meanwhile those same people rarely volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on.  The very things that I and many other older people view as giving my life value.

It was years ago I had a boss say that she worked to live, she didn't live to work.  It's a cliché now, but at the time it really put things in perspective for me.  It was ok to not feel like a rockstar on stage when I came to work, sat down at my cubicle and started churning out automation scripts, debugging failures, and resolving trouble tickets for other teams.  My worth and value were not in my career, they were based on who I am as a person, which extends far beyond just my job.  It was actually quite liberating to not feel like I had to derive worth from my job.

i don't agree that the definition of a meaningful life should include:  volunteer, help others, get involved with their families, raise kids, and so on. this assumes you find value in centering other people. it's not a millennial thing to want possessions. millennials did not invent the concept of keeping up with the Joneses.  if anything working in your 'passion' is freeing. previously people received validation from types of jobs, and often those jobs were either considered hardworking or high earning, or both. But these are external influences. ( people wanted to be Drs and lawyers or police officers) now people want to do what brings them joy. and often money does follow. but the amount of money does vary. the problem is attitudes towards displays of wealth and dominance have not caught up yet.

why do you think hipsters are a thing?

 people who love cheap unpopular shit and use it as power displays:  that's a millennial thing.

IMO life is all about relationships. Not in a possessive sense, like what I get out of it, but being other focused. This requires commitment, vulnerability, and sacrifice, and it's scary at times but totally worth it. But that's just like my opinion, man.

The love of money (possessions) has been around since the invention of money, though philosophers the world over agree that there's more to life than money or creating or being productive. In previous generations most jobs were neither fulfilling nor high paying. My grandmother worked for 20 years in a candy factory, literally straightening candy bars on a conveyer belt 8hrs/day, and to her it was "the best job she ever had" because it was airconditioned and she got to sit, and it was consistent work that provided for her family (She was an Okei who lost everything in the dust bowl and moved to CA and then worked in the Oakland shipyard). For most people work is about making a living - not about getting rich, or fulfillment, just making ends meet. I have nothing against people who find fulfilling work, good for them! But I see a lot of people chasing phantoms, the elusive well paying passion, and doing so well beyond the point of being reasonable (like the story that prompted this thread).

And people loving cheap unpopular shit is not a millennial thing. The hippies did this, and before them numerous ascetic movements. When I was in high school in the early 90's, back when grunge and punk were a thing, you were looked down upon as "preppy" if you didn't appear slightly homeless. Used, vintage, off brand, etc. Back then nothing made a kid cooler than discovering their father's forgotten and very worn t-shirts from the 70's.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: lhamo on December 01, 2017, 08:52:53 PM
Similar story with a slightly more sympathetic protagonist:

https://blog.usejournal.com/how-to-watch-your-successful-business-fail-in-5-easy-steps-a79a8af6e027

I remember the stories about her opening the second store, and closing it down just weeks later.  Tough, tough business food....
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: lhamo on December 02, 2017, 11:48:09 AM
Similar story with a slightly more sympathetic protagonist:

https://blog.usejournal.com/how-to-watch-your-successful-business-fail-in-5-easy-steps-a79a8af6e027

I remember the stories about her opening the second store, and closing it down just weeks later.  Tough, tough business food....

I read the article and in it she mentions she did all her due diligence but wasn't "making a profit" part of it?

I think this is one of the hazards all people with small businesses face -- the common knowledge is that it takes awhile to get going, and you will not make money for the first year or two.  If you are smart, you build up your savings and give yourself a nice long runway.  And preferably start building things in other ways long before you incur the expense of a physical location.  And don't take out loans.  She did build her reputation, but it sounds like she had loans/investors from the very beginning.  And a spouse whose income could support them.  That makes it hard to pull the plug, because you keep thinking the next month is going to be the one where you turn the corner/become profitable.   But the expenses keep mounting.   And a luxury food item is easy for people to cut out of their budget.  Which sometimes needs to happen, even in a place like Seattle where the economy is booming, because other people's basic expenses are going up too.

Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: facepalm on December 03, 2017, 10:25:16 AM


And people loving cheap unpopular shit is not a millennial thing. The hippies did this, and before them numerous ascetic movements. When I was in high school in the early 90's, back when grunge and punk were a thing, you were looked down upon as "preppy" if you didn't appear slightly homeless. Used, vintage, off brand, etc. Back then nothing made a kid cooler than discovering their father's forgotten and very worn t-shirts from the 70's.

"People loving cheap unpopular shit and using it as a power display" is an attempt at irony and is a form of reverse snobbery, and is a hipster thing. People didn't drive Ramblers or wear Sears Toughskins in the sixties and seventies because they were attempting to be ironic or engage in parody display, they did so because they were cheap.

My dad owned a shop on the Haight in the sixties, and I spent a lot of time there from '65 through '68. My personal observation is that many there were disenchanted with the system and wanted out, and were more interested in the collective version of what freedom was at that time. Little interest in impressing others unless it would get them high (or laid). Hanging out, getting high, listening to KSAN, seemed to be all that the throngs at GG Park cared about. No one bought ironic status objects because no one had any money.

When shit soured and things got real they had to leave SF and get jobs. Fun times.

Take care.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on December 03, 2017, 04:24:03 PM
Early on cheapness was also a primary motivation for hipsters (e.g. PBR). Like every other group before them, including the hippies, style/preferences evolves into a way to identify group membership. As a distinctive group grows in popularity it attracts new converts, diminishing it's distinctiveness. As a matter of self preservation it becomes more exclusive, snobbish. A hippie that came into money wouldn't suddenly go out and start buying nice clothes and fancy cars - their group would look down on them for their consumerism and displays of wealth - it's a reflection of values. The hipster thing is getting pretty long in the tooth (I remember bitching about hipsters over 10 years ago!) and it's now completely co-opted by corporate interests hawking their mass produced and overpriced 'bespoke' goods. What started as cheap and unpopular has become expensive and snobbish. So, no, I don't see anything particularly unique about millennial hipsters.   
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on December 03, 2017, 07:53:47 PM
Early on cheapness was also a primary motivation for hipsters (e.g. PBR). Like every other group before them, including the hippies, style/preferences evolves into a way to identify group membership. As a distinctive group grows in popularity it attracts new converts, diminishing it's distinctiveness. As a matter of self preservation it becomes more exclusive, snobbish. A hippie that came into money wouldn't suddenly go out and start buying nice clothes and fancy cars - their group would look down on them for their consumerism and displays of wealth - it's a reflection of values. The hipster thing is getting pretty long in the tooth (I remember bitching about hipsters over 10 years ago!) and it's now completely co-opted by corporate interests hawking their mass produced and overpriced 'bespoke' goods. What started as cheap and unpopular has become expensive and snobbish. So, no, I don't see anything particularly unique about millennial hipsters.   

If you want a lesson in social hilarity, take a look at Woodstock, NY. At the time of the big music festival it was an extreme conservative bastion, however since then the locals realized they could make more money off tourism than they could off reactionary politics. So now it's wall-to-wall hemp, head shops, candles, little cafes where people can hang out and discuss Marx, and not a commercial establishment in sight. They're still a magnet for the people wanting to relive the version of the 1970's they remember, kind of like a tie-dyed version of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The hippies that got money went to Taos, NM and Sedona, AZ.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MgoSam on December 04, 2017, 01:39:39 PM

My grandmother worked for 20 years in a candy factory, literally straightening candy bars on a conveyer belt 8hrs/day, and to her it was "the best job she ever had" because it was airconditioned and she got to sit, and it was consistent work that provided for her family (She was an Okei who lost everything in the dust bowl and moved to CA and then worked in the Oakland shipyard). For most people work is about making a living - not about getting rich, or fulfillment, just making ends meet. I have nothing against people who find fulfilling work, good for them! But I see a lot of people chasing phantoms, the elusive well paying passion, and doing so well beyond the point of being reasonable (like the story that prompted this thread).


Great point you made about your grandmother. Every once in a while I realize how many parts of my job I dislike and then I will realize how many people are working harder with more stress and for less and it helps me remember all the good things I like about my position.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on December 04, 2017, 02:21:07 PM
Early on cheapness was also a primary motivation for hipsters (e.g. PBR). Like every other group before them, including the hippies, style/preferences evolves into a way to identify group membership. As a distinctive group grows in popularity it attracts new converts, diminishing it's distinctiveness. As a matter of self preservation it becomes more exclusive, snobbish. A hippie that came into money wouldn't suddenly go out and start buying nice clothes and fancy cars - their group would look down on them for their consumerism and displays of wealth - it's a reflection of values. The hipster thing is getting pretty long in the tooth (I remember bitching about hipsters over 10 years ago!) and it's now completely co-opted by corporate interests hawking their mass produced and overpriced 'bespoke' goods. What started as cheap and unpopular has become expensive and snobbish. So, no, I don't see anything particularly unique about millennial hipsters.   

If you want a lesson in social hilarity, take a look at Woodstock, NY. At the time of the big music festival it was an extreme conservative bastion, however since then the locals realized they could make more money off tourism than they could off reactionary politics. So now it's wall-to-wall hemp, head shops, candles, little cafes where people can hang out and discuss Marx, and not a commercial establishment in sight. They're still a magnet for the people wanting to relive the version of the 1970's they remember, kind of like a tie-dyed version of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The hippies that got money went to Taos, NM and Sedona, AZ.

We passed through Sedona over the summer. Beautiful place, but yeah, definitely moneyed hippies/boho-chic clique.

I live in the Santa Cruz area where you can watch the wealthy hippies age in place. Many bought homes in the 70s and early 80s before housing prices went crazy. Because of Prop 13 most are paying almost zero property taxes for homes worth well north of $1 million (like in the $500/year range). Furthermore, because of Props 58 and 193, inherited homes usually keep their Prop 13 tax basis so future generations also pay nearly nothing in property taxes. People in progressive California love to complain about the rich not paying their fair share, or reductions in the estate tax (to be clear, I think the estate tax is a good thing), but mum's the word on those property tax advantages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: partgypsy on December 05, 2017, 07:50:00 AM
I didn't read the article, but my Dad (and uncle) was in the restaurant business, so all of us kids had to work at the restaurant when we were in Jr and HS. That was enough that it was far easier to earn a living by going to college and grad school. Getting a PhD and white collar job is a cake walk in comparison, even though up until the last 10 years my work weeks were > 40 hour work weeks. That said, if you can do it successfully, you can make a lot of money. But you also have to enjoy 7 day work weeks, and working every holiday.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: iris lily on December 06, 2017, 10:06:25 AM
We have a big restaurant space a block from our house. I have seen at least 4 restaurants there, 3 of them by newbies. That last one was the biggest fail, the guy offered comfort food from all over the world, spelled the name of the place is a weird way  where no one could find it if looking on the web, and jired  people in trouble with the law to rehabilitate them. Pretty much the day it opened it was a failure but the food was ok. The service sucked. The menu was strange. Then the air c ditioning went out during hottest weather. That was his nail in the coffin.

Anyway, we see a LOT of failures in restaurant biz. Our friend had plans to open a soiffle restaurant. This was one of many of his plans such as writing comedy, running a furniture store, making jewelry. Yeah, completely impractical. He is actually married to a really good cook,I would go to her restaurant before his.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Dabnasty on December 06, 2017, 12:14:11 PM
We have a big restaurant space a block from our house. I have seen at least 4 restaurants there, 3 of them by newbies. That last one was the biggest fail, the guy offered comfort food from all over the world, spelled the name of the place is a weird way  where no one could find it if looking on the web, and the people in trouble with the law to rehabilitate them. Pretty much the day it opened it was a failure but the food was ok. The service sucked. The menu was strange. Then the air c ditioning went out during hottest weather. That was his nail in the coffin.

Anyway, we see a LOT of failures in restaurant biz. Our friend had plans to open a soiffle restaurant. This was one of many if his plans such as writing comedy, running a furniture store, making jewelry. Yeah, completely impreactical. He is actually married to a really good cook,I would go to her restaurant before his.

An amateur opening a soufflé restaurant? That would fall flat for sure.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: mm1970 on December 06, 2017, 01:23:18 PM

My grandmother worked for 20 years in a candy factory, literally straightening candy bars on a conveyer belt 8hrs/day, and to her it was "the best job she ever had" because it was airconditioned and she got to sit, and it was consistent work that provided for her family (She was an Okei who lost everything in the dust bowl and moved to CA and then worked in the Oakland shipyard). For most people work is about making a living - not about getting rich, or fulfillment, just making ends meet. I have nothing against people who find fulfilling work, good for them! But I see a lot of people chasing phantoms, the elusive well paying passion, and doing so well beyond the point of being reasonable (like the story that prompted this thread).


Great point you made about your grandmother. Every once in a while I realize how many parts of my job I dislike and then I will realize how many people are working harder with more stress and for less and it helps me remember all the good things I like about my position.

I remember shortly after college reading an article that talked about "following your passion" and "finding meaning in your work".  And I'm an X-er.  Even back then, I thought it was BS, to some degree.

My dad had a job that he was good at.  In his day, you worked at a job and it paid the bills.  That's it.  It didn't "define you".  You went home and that was it for the day.  Life was lived outside of work.  What bugged me about being in the generation of being defined by your work is that it's still WORK.  And what if it sucks?  Or you get downsized?  There's a lot more pressure if you suddenly have to be passionate about everything that you do.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: stoaX on December 11, 2017, 11:11:39 AM
We have a big restaurant space a block from our house. I have seen at least 4 restaurants there, 3 of them by newbies. That last one was the biggest fail, the guy offered comfort food from all over the world, spelled the name of the place is a weird way  where no one could find it if looking on the web, and the people in trouble with the law to rehabilitate them. Pretty much the day it opened it was a failure but the food was ok. The service sucked. The menu was strange. Then the air c ditioning went out during hottest weather. That was his nail in the coffin.

Anyway, we see a LOT of failures in restaurant biz. Our friend had plans to open a soiffle restaurant. This was one of many if his plans such as writing comedy, running a furniture store, making jewelry. Yeah, completely impreactical. He is actually married to a really good cook,I would go to her restaurant before his.

An amateur opening a soufflé restaurant? That would fall flat for sure.

I knew I would find my laugh for the day on this forum - thanks!
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: tooqk4u22 on December 11, 2017, 03:41:17 PM
A lot of haters and 20/20 hindsight going on in this thread.....good to know that most people can avoid an issue if they (a) know the issue and its answer ahead of time or (b) don't take any risk.

He had a dream, saw an opportunity, and failed....story can also go didn't take an opportunity so didn't fail (pathetic) or took an opportunity and succeeded. Stories like this should be commended and learned from.

There is greatness in opportunity can make you or break you, but having an opportunity what is great regardless of what you do. 

Besides not everyone can succeed....

https://www.thedailymeal.com/7-superstar-chefs-and-their-biggest-failures/101413 (https://www.thedailymeal.com/7-superstar-chefs-and-their-biggest-failures/101413)

Another example as someone already pointed out....he must be dumb too!

This kind of reminds me of Mr. Money Mustache’s Big Mistake (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/02/01/mr-money-mustaches-big-mistake/) except MMM was much better prepared to weather a bad business venture.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: NoraLenderbee on December 11, 2017, 05:41:43 PM
A lot of haters and 20/20 hindsight going on in this thread.....good to know that most people can avoid an issue if they (a) know the issue and its answer ahead of time or (b) don't take any risk.

He had a dream, saw an opportunity, and failed....story can also go didn't take an opportunity so didn't fail (pathetic) or took an opportunity and succeeded. Stories like this should be commended and learned from.


He's not being laughed at ("hated") because he took a risk and failed. he's being laughed at because he fucked it up through his own lack of research, foolishness, ignorance, and general dumbassery. Every time something happened that he could have learned from, he ignored the obvious lesson or acted like he didn't need to know.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Cpa Cat on December 11, 2017, 10:41:32 PM

What kind of hubris would allow someone with no restaurant experience whatsoever to attempt this? I spent four summers in college working back of the house at a very well managed resort restaurant. Fun, but crazy hard work. My mind had a hard time processing how dumb it would be to take something like this on after the experience of actually working at a restaurant.


It's amazing how many people have a dumba$$ dream of owning a restaurant. I've had multiple clients with zero restaurant experience who have told me that their dream is to run a restaurant or cafe in retirement - using their IRA funds to invest in it.

What could go wrong?
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: CoffeeR on December 12, 2017, 01:06:39 PM
I wonder how long before we see a thread titled something like this: "One possible route to never-retirement -- cryptocurrencies".
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on December 12, 2017, 01:30:30 PM
There's a very painful difference between fantasy and reality, and we're seeing it all over this forum.

People also fantasize about the full-time RV life, a tiny house, animal rescue, career changes, extreme sports, a dozen children, adoption of a special-needs child, living in a commune, or in this case owning a restaurant. Fantasizing like that does no harm and it's definitely cheap and time effective. But getting there from a mainstream lifestyle requires irreversible lifestyle changes. It pays to look before we leap.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Metta on December 12, 2017, 01:53:30 PM
As a host, one of my dinner party goals-- or social goals, really-- is to get people who wouldn't otherwise meet each other to cross paths and interact. Many continue a friendship independently of my involvement, but mostly I match people up when one of them needs information the other has.

I love this! How incredibly satisfying and joy-producing this must be.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on December 12, 2017, 02:43:45 PM
As a host, one of my dinner party goals-- or social goals, really-- is to get people who wouldn't otherwise meet each other to cross paths and interact. Many continue a friendship independently of my involvement, but mostly I match people up when one of them needs information the other has.

I love this! How incredibly satisfying and joy-producing this must be.

It is. Try it, you'll like it. All you need is a table and some food. Even more awesome is when dinner guests reciprocate and I get to meet some of the people in *their* networks. It's like social media but with food, and you get to meet the real individuals, not the versions of themselves they present online.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MgoSam on December 13, 2017, 12:45:24 PM
Grim,

Agreed! I need to have more dinner parties, I find them way more satisfying than going out...especially if the host has a cute dog to play with.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Metta on December 13, 2017, 01:18:40 PM
As a host, one of my dinner party goals-- or social goals, really-- is to get people who wouldn't otherwise meet each other to cross paths and interact. Many continue a friendship independently of my involvement, but mostly I match people up when one of them needs information the other has.

I love this! How incredibly satisfying and joy-producing this must be.

It is. Try it, you'll like it. All you need is a table and some food. Even more awesome is when dinner guests reciprocate and I get to meet some of the people in *their* networks. It's like social media but with food, and you get to meet the real individuals, not the versions of themselves they present online.

It sounds like you are running a salon. I host a lot of games and wine tastings and I usually make a dinner party to greet new faculty members in my husband's department that seem intriguing, but it has been a while since I hosted a dinner party whose only purpose was talk and put people together.

I haven't had much luck in being invited to other people's houses for dinner. They are much more likely to come to my house. (And I'm ok with that.)
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: foobar on December 13, 2017, 01:22:16 PM

My grandmother worked for 20 years in a candy factory, literally straightening candy bars on a conveyer belt 8hrs/day, and to her it was "the best job she ever had" because it was airconditioned and she got to sit, and it was consistent work that provided for her family (She was an Okei who lost everything in the dust bowl and moved to CA and then worked in the Oakland shipyard). For most people work is about making a living - not about getting rich, or fulfillment, just making ends meet. I have nothing against people who find fulfilling work, good for them! But I see a lot of people chasing phantoms, the elusive well paying passion, and doing so well beyond the point of being reasonable (like the story that prompted this thread).


Great point you made about your grandmother. Every once in a while I realize how many parts of my job I dislike and then I will realize how many people are working harder with more stress and for less and it helps me remember all the good things I like about my position.

I remember shortly after college reading an article that talked about "following your passion" and "finding meaning in your work".  And I'm an X-er.  Even back then, I thought it was BS, to some degree.

My dad had a job that he was good at.  In his day, you worked at a job and it paid the bills.  That's it.  It didn't "define you".  You went home and that was it for the day.  Life was lived outside of work.  What bugged me about being in the generation of being defined by your work is that it's still WORK.  And what if it sucks?  Or you get downsized?  There's a lot more pressure if you suddenly have to be passionate about everything that you do.

Obviously you can't be stupid when pursuing your passion.  If you have zero experience in a field (and being able to cook has pretty much nothing to do with running a restaurant), starting a business is not a great idea. Dreams are easy. Coming up with an execution plan is hard. And very few plans where you start at the top work out well. This guy knew nothing about restaurants (i.e. cooking is the least important part of the business) and make pretty much every amateur mistake you can from being uncapitalized, picking a poor location, underpricing, and so on.

Or of course you can take the easy way and work at a job you hate and dream of the day you don't have to work.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on December 13, 2017, 02:55:11 PM
As a host, one of my dinner party goals-- or social goals, really-- is to get people who wouldn't otherwise meet each other to cross paths and interact. Many continue a friendship independently of my involvement, but mostly I match people up when one of them needs information the other has.

I love this! How incredibly satisfying and joy-producing this must be.

It is. Try it, you'll like it. All you need is a table and some food. Even more awesome is when dinner guests reciprocate and I get to meet some of the people in *their* networks. It's like social media but with food, and you get to meet the real individuals, not the versions of themselves they present online.

It sounds like you are running a salon. I host a lot of games and wine tastings and I usually make a dinner party to greet new faculty members in my husband's department that seem intriguing, but it has been a while since I hosted a dinner party whose only purpose was talk and put people together.

I haven't had much luck in being invited to other people's houses for dinner. They are much more likely to come to my house. (And I'm ok with that.)

A salon is different. I ran one for a while and did not find it satisfying compared to, say, a jam session. Dinner party hosting is what I find easiest and what produces the best return on invested time and resources.

The thing with a salon is that it's an unstructured evening: an open house with a guest list. People drop in, or not, as they like, and they fit it in around other commitments. So you serve drinks and maybe snacks, but not a scheduled meal. You need a critical mass of people in order to make it good because there need to be at least three conversations going at a time. That means nine to ten people because conversations generally require more than two, and people migrate. To make a salon effective with good cross-pollination of ideas requires regular repetition: you do it every Tuesday night, or whatever it's going to be. The problem is that people start to take it for granted.

A good dinner party can be had even with just four to six people and one conversation. The logistics are way easier. Getting the people is the hardest part. But people do make more of an effort for dinner than they do for other kinds of events.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: tralfamadorian on December 13, 2017, 03:32:45 PM

What kind of hubris would allow someone with no restaurant experience whatsoever to attempt this? I spent four summers in college working back of the house at a very well managed resort restaurant. Fun, but crazy hard work. My mind had a hard time processing how dumb it would be to take something like this on after the experience of actually working at a restaurant.


It's amazing how many people have a dumba$$ dream of owning a restaurant. I've had multiple clients with zero restaurant experience who have told me that their dream is to run a restaurant or cafe in retirement - using their IRA funds to invest in it.

What could go wrong?

Also wineries, breweries and artisanal micro-distillers. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on December 13, 2017, 04:09:05 PM

What kind of hubris would allow someone with no restaurant experience whatsoever to attempt this? I spent four summers in college working back of the house at a very well managed resort restaurant. Fun, but crazy hard work. My mind had a hard time processing how dumb it would be to take something like this on after the experience of actually working at a restaurant.


It's amazing how many people have a dumba$$ dream of owning a restaurant. I've had multiple clients with zero restaurant experience who have told me that their dream is to run a restaurant or cafe in retirement - using their IRA funds to invest in it.

What could go wrong?

Also wineries, breweries and artisanal micro-distillers.

Or farms. Many things can go wrong. Idiots deciding to go "back to the land" and start a hobby farm, generally with cheap, outdated equipment they have no clue how to use, now cause about a quarter of the preventable farming accidents. Yet they are only a small proportion of farmers or farm workers; they're grossly outnumbered by professional farmers, and the equipment operators, migrants, and field hands employed in agribusiness.

Behold the evidence of carnage.

https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/ (https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/)

People are actually dying from this.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: tralfamadorian on December 13, 2017, 08:15:45 PM
Or farms. Many things can go wrong. Idiots deciding to go "back to the land" and start a hobby farm, generally with cheap, outdated equipment they have no clue how to use, now cause about a quarter of the preventable farming accidents. Yet they are only a small proportion of farmers or farm workers; they're grossly outnumbered by professional farmers, and the equipment operators, migrants, and field hands employed in agribusiness.

Behold the evidence of carnage.

https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/ (https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/)

People are actually dying from this.

True- tractors are so dangerous. An acquaintance died this year in exactly the situation of the first person mentioned in the article. A tractor was torqued over by a log, which then crushed his leg. He bled to death before anyone found him.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: FINate on December 14, 2017, 09:53:36 AM
Or farms. Many things can go wrong. Idiots deciding to go "back to the land" and start a hobby farm, generally with cheap, outdated equipment they have no clue how to use, now cause about a quarter of the preventable farming accidents. Yet they are only a small proportion of farmers or farm workers; they're grossly outnumbered by professional farmers, and the equipment operators, migrants, and field hands employed in agribusiness.

Behold the evidence of carnage.

https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/ (https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/)

People are actually dying from this.

True- tractors are so dangerous. An acquaintance died this year in exactly the situation of the first person mentioned in the article. A tractor was torqued over by a log, which then crushed his leg. He bled to death before anyone found him.

I have mixed opinion about this.

The article mentions 30 deaths over a three year period in Indiana, but no denominator is given (later 813,000 small farms nationwide, but nothing for Indiana specifically). So it's difficult to evaluate the risks involved. Ideally they would provide stats per hour worked, per worker, per acre, etc. How does it compare to operating chainsaws, 4-wheelers, driving, or any number of other risks? I just can't tell.

No doubt that untrained folks operating older equipment w/o modern safety features is higher risk. My guess is that white collar workers (I'm one) underestimate the dangers, difficulty, physicality, and skill/knowledge involved in farming and other blue collar work. So hobby farms start with no concept of what's really involved (and how expensive modern equipment is), they run low on funds, then figure they can get by with a tracker from the 1960s. Besides, oldschool stuff is cool, looks great on Instagram. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, if not physically then at least financially. If you've ever watched the show Homestead Rescue then you've probably seen this pattern in quasi real life (it's a TV show, but real people and real situations AFAIK). People, mostly urban/suburban with no farming or rural experience, who've quit their office jobs to start homesteads that are now failing. Most seem totally caught off guard by how much work and skill it requires. My guess is that people fantasize about a simpler time on bucolic farms that never really existed. Farm life has always been difficult, and unpredictable, and dangerous. That's the sense I get from history at least.

So yeah, I can see how this is a problem, just no idea how much of a problem it is, or how much the large agribusiness just doesn't like amateurs getting into their turf.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: TempusFugit on December 17, 2017, 01:01:07 PM
Or farms. Many things can go wrong. Idiots deciding to go "back to the land" and start a hobby farm, generally with cheap, outdated equipment they have no clue how to use, now cause about a quarter of the preventable farming accidents. Yet they are only a small proportion of farmers or farm workers; they're grossly outnumbered by professional farmers, and the equipment operators, migrants, and field hands employed in agribusiness.

Behold the evidence of carnage.

https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/ (https://www.agweb.com/article/rise-of-hobby-farms-means-risk-to-untrained-workers-apnews/)

People are actually dying from this.

True- tractors are so dangerous. An acquaintance died this year in exactly the situation of the first person mentioned in the article. A tractor was torqued over by a log, which then crushed his leg. He bled to death before anyone found him.

I have mixed opinion about this.

The article mentions 30 deaths over a three year period in Indiana, but no denominator is given (later 813,000 small farms nationwide, but nothing for Indiana specifically). So it's difficult to evaluate the risks involved. Ideally they would provide stats per hour worked, per worker, per acre, etc. How does it compare to operating chainsaws, 4-wheelers, driving, or any number of other risks? I just can't tell.

No doubt that untrained folks operating older equipment w/o modern safety features is higher risk. My guess is that white collar workers (I'm one) underestimate the dangers, difficulty, physicality, and skill/knowledge involved in farming and other blue collar work. So hobby farms start with no concept of what's really involved (and how expensive modern equipment is), they run low on funds, then figure they can get by with a tracker from the 1960s. Besides, oldschool stuff is cool, looks great on Instagram. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, if not physically then at least financially. If you've ever watched the show Homestead Rescue then you've probably seen this pattern in quasi real life (it's a TV show, but real people and real situations AFAIK). People, mostly urban/suburban with no farming or rural experience, who've quit their office jobs to start homesteads that are now failing. Most seem totally caught off guard by how much work and skill it requires. My guess is that people fantasize about a simpler time on bucolic farms that never really existed. Farm life has always been difficult, and unpredictable, and dangerous. That's the sense I get from history at least.

So yeah, I can see how this is a problem, just no idea how much of a problem it is, or how much the large agribusiness just doesn't like amateurs getting into their turf.


When I was a kid, my parents bought a hobby farm.  My dad had a full time job and made good money, but evidently had always wanted to have a small farm.  So while both he and my mom kept their day jobs, we also had a 30-something acre farm with cows, chickens, pigs (briefly), a bitchy pony (briefly), and goats.    Nostalgia being what it is, I have mostly positive memories from that time, since it happened at just the right time in a boy's age that exploring the woods and having free range of the land was an exciting adventure.   

I don't recall any particularly dangerous incidents involving the old tractor, other than the fact that they let me drive it sometimes (I was 10-13 during this period). 

I do recall how stressful the 'hobby' became as interest rates rose and started making the financial burden too great to sustain.  This was in the Volcker years of 1980-83 when variable mortgage rates got up to 19% or so.   My dad bought a share of a different business on another city and it took almost 2 years to sell the farm and be shed of all that responsibility.

It was (is) a beautiful piece of land and I still fantasize about one day being rich enough to go back and reclaim it.  I never will, of course, but that's beside the point.  I just looked it up on zillow and its 'zestimate' is $1M. So, no, not likely.    If I recall correctly, my folks sold it for about 200K in 1984. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 17, 2017, 02:51:26 PM
Regardless of what the dream is, hobby farm, restaurant, whatever, the trick is to fit it into your existing life. I'd love a little farm. Instead, I have a couple of backyard chickens, I'm doing a night course on how to make cheese with ordinary cow's milk from the supermarket, and I can fruit and veges when they're just about giving them away at the height of the season (because I'm a bit shit at growing things). None of these things has disrupted my life or finances, but I still get to have a bit of the lifestyle.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: MgoSam on December 17, 2017, 07:17:22 PM
Regardless of what the dream is, hobby farm, restaurant, whatever, the trick is to fit it into your existing life. I'd love a little farm. Instead, I have a couple of backyard chickens, I'm doing a night course on how to make cheese with ordinary cow's milk from the supermarket, and I can fruit and veges when they're just about giving them away at the height of the season (because I'm a bit shit at growing things). None of these things has disrupted my life or finances, but I still get to have a bit of the lifestyle.

That's awesome! Way to pick a desire that leads to a much healthier lifestyle. I really should buy tomatoes when they are in season to can them as I go through a decent amount of them. Would love to learn about the cheeses you are making.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 18, 2017, 05:19:49 AM
Regardless of what the dream is, hobby farm, restaurant, whatever, the trick is to fit it into your existing life. I'd love a little farm. Instead, I have a couple of backyard chickens, I'm doing a night course on how to make cheese with ordinary cow's milk from the supermarket, and I can fruit and veges when they're just about giving them away at the height of the season (because I'm a bit shit at growing things). None of these things has disrupted my life or finances, but I still get to have a bit of the lifestyle.

That's awesome! Way to pick a desire that leads to a much healthier lifestyle. I really should buy tomatoes when they are in season to can them as I go through a decent amount of them. Would love to learn about the cheeses you are making.

It's quite fun having the produce in jars in winter when things are so expensive. Even just freezing at the height of the season is a huge money saver. Some things are very seasonal here in NZ - capsicum goes from $4 a kilo in summer to $4 each in winter! And I make a lot of capsicum-requiring recipes. I generally make a few dozen jars of chili and coriander salsa in summer also.

I've only just started the cheese making. We're doing ricotta, feta and camembert, which I think represent various stages of the whole process. I know I'd use feta a lot.

The chickens have been the most homesteady thing, though. They're pretty spoiled for livestock! And I get a dozen eggs a week from the two little feather butts.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: EricL on December 20, 2017, 04:05:50 AM
A lot of haters and 20/20 hindsight going on in this thread.....good to know that most people can avoid an issue if they (a) know the issue and its answer ahead of time or (b) don't take any risk.

He had a dream, saw an opportunity, and failed....story can also go didn't take an opportunity so didn't fail (pathetic) or took an opportunity and succeeded. Stories like this should be commended and learned from.

There is greatness in opportunity can make you or break you, but having an opportunity what is great regardless of what you do. 

Besides not everyone can succeed....

https://www.thedailymeal.com/7-superstar-chefs-and-their-biggest-failures/101413 (https://www.thedailymeal.com/7-superstar-chefs-and-their-biggest-failures/101413)

Another example as someone already pointed out....he must be dumb too!

This kind of reminds me of Mr. Money Mustache’s Big Mistake (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/02/01/mr-money-mustaches-big-mistake/) except MMM was much better prepared to weather a bad business venture.

Nobody here has anything against dreamers or big thinkers.  We've all made some mistakes trying to make a buck or fulfill a dream or both.  Often big ones.  But damn.  A restaurant with no prior restaurant experience? 

Take a look at the story link you posted.  The key story component is the word "chef".  I.e., a guy or gal professionally trained to prepare and cook food.  In none of those 7 stories is there one for "cubicle monkey." A chef makes a calculated risk based on his training to open his own restaurant.  Their failure can mean lessons learned to reach future success.  A cubicle monkey opening a restaurant makes a leap of faith - under an oncoming bus. 
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: Sid Hoffman on December 23, 2017, 10:28:14 AM
I have mixed opinion about this.

The article mentions 30 deaths over a three year period in Indiana, but no denominator is given (later 813,000 small farms nationwide, but nothing for Indiana specifically). So it's difficult to evaluate the risks involved. Ideally they would provide stats per hour worked, per worker, per acre, etc. How does it compare to operating chainsaws, 4-wheelers, driving, or any number of other risks? I just can't tell.

Not sure either, but for comparison, from 2014 - 2016, Indiana had 2388 traffic deaths.  One could conclude that about 80x as many people died driving to/from conventional jobs than died working a home farm.  It would be a likely false conclusion in may ways, but as you said, without a denominator of some kind it's actually very difficult to declare that working a home farm is more dangerous than driving to/from a non-farm job.
Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: bugbaby on December 24, 2017, 01:04:40 AM



I do find the title "A Restaurant Ruined My Life" to be a bit telling of this guy's problem.  "I Ruined My Life with a Restaurant" would be much more accurate.

He hasn't learned any broader life lessons and seems introspective only at a shallow level.

I suspect a life pattern of doing ruinous or selfish things (maybe at a smaller scale) and when the fallout comes it's always another party's fault, bad luck, the system, life etc...  Feel awful for the family.



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Title: Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
Post by: SnackDog on December 25, 2017, 01:03:54 AM
While learning he knows nothing about business, he missed a great business opportunity.  His adventure might have made a good reality TV show and earned him millions - enough to continue "playing" at the restaurant business.

I've had friends with careers in the high end restaurant business and the level of alcohol consumption is staggering.  A couple nights per week the staff would raid the bar after closing and just carry on all night.