Anyone that has lived in Brooklyn Heights for more than five or so years has seen that wonderful new restaurant open its doors up the street with so much promise, a great menu and meaningful ambiance… only to shutter a year later, supplanted by a nail salon or cell phone retailer. Sigh.
The Real Deal offers some grim statistics about why it’s so difficult for an eatery to survive in New York City (which has definitely made me think twice about my plan to open Chuckey’s Pizza Pies & Absinthe Bar in the nabe. Big sigh).
NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing and tourism board, reports that despite 18,696 restaurants currently in the five boroughs and 200 new joints opening each year, “few survive their first year of operation, and less than 10% will be in business in five years.” That’s according to restaurateur expert Alan Stillman, founder of TGI Friday’s and Smith & Wollensky.
Whether or not you have the greatest chef in town, the key to success is location, adds Phil Scotti, CEO of Clarke’s Group, owner and operator of P.J. Clarke’s, in the Real Deal piece. Financing is another major challenge, especially for an independent venture: “A limited amount of financing is available from government sources and capital firms for franchisee operations, but few financial institutions are willing to provide backing for upstart restaurants,” the story reports.
In other words—and this is my personal opinion here—I thank the stars above that Le Pain Quotidien opened at 121 Montague Street, instead of Citibank. Amen.
(Photo concept: Chuck Taylor)