Author Topic: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life  (Read 20995 times)

obstinate

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

The mistakes start on line one and never stop.

englishteacheralex

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #1 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?

runbikerun

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #2 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?

slugline

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 08:13:25 AM »
This kind of reminds me of Mr. Money Mustache’s Big Mistake except MMM was much better prepared to weather a bad business venture.

englishteacheralex

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #4 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.

CNM

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #5 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.

boyerbt

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #6 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

Ann

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #7 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?   

MountainFlower

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #8 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. 

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #9 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.

Travis

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #10 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.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #11 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.

Helvegen

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #12 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.

MgoSam

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #13 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.

CNM

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #14 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.

Travis

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #15 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.

Just Joe

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #16 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.

paddedhat

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #17 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.

Ann

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #18 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.

Chesleygirl

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #19 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.

paddedhat

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #20 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.

FINate

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #21 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.

Chesleygirl

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #22 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.

Helvegen

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #23 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?

TempusFugit

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #24 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. 

ACyclist

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #25 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

Chesleygirl

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2017, 12:53:32 PM »
Maybe his food was awful or the service was poor?

MgoSam

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #27 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.

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #28 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.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #29 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.

Chesleygirl

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #30 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.

Travis

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #31 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. 

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #32 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.

EricL

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #33 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.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #34 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.

snowball

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #35 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.)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 09:48:55 PM by snowball »

MarciaB

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #36 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...

KodeBlue

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2017, 02:17:39 PM »
Alcohol also seems to have played a role in some of his poor decisions.

ambimammular

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #38 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.

MrsPete

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #39 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.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 08:11:01 PM by MrsPete »

FINate

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #40 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? Did you really, truly, believe that a music degree would pay off?

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #41 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? 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.

dreadmoose

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #42 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"

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #43 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? 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.

FINate

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #44 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? 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.

Shalamar

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #45 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).

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #46 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".

Shalamar

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #47 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.

ice_beard

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #48 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. 


paddedhat

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Re: One possible route to never-retirement -- restaurant ruined life
« Reply #49 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.