Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buddy's to close Idaho Falls restaurant

We here at BizMojo Idaho would much rather write about a restaurant opening than one closing, but it is our sad duty to report that Buddy's on Channing Way will be shutting its doors at the end of the year.

Give them credit for trying. They opened in early August 2010, right about when Idaho Falls was beginning to feel the full effect of the economic downturn.

For those of you whose response is, "How could they? I love Buddy's!" ask yourself, when was the last time you ate there? The business hasn't been good enough, said the manager I talked to Thursday.

Running a restaurant is a tough business, and for locally owned places it can be hard to compete with chains like Olive Garden, which, as we know, have deep pockets and a devoted following.

But the commonly held notion that 90 percent of restaurants fail in their first year is a myth. I've posted a link below to an article that was published earlier this year by Randy White, CEO of White Hutchison Leisure & Learning Group, a consulting group based in Kansas City, Mo. Here are some key points from a three-year study they did:

  • During the first year of operation, slightly over one-quarter of all restaurants closed or changed ownership. By the end of their third year, just short of 60% of all restaurants closed or changed ownership. The turnover rate varied little between independent and chain restaurants.
  • Restaurant turnover was highest in areas with higher concentrations of restaurants. In other words, the greater the number of restaurants for a given population, the greater the failure rate.
  • A successful restaurant requires focus on a clear concept that drives all activities, an operating philosophy that encompasses business operations as well as employee and customer relations. "Failed restaurant owners, when asked about their concept, discussed only the food product," White wrote. "The researchers concluded it was obvious from the interviews that food quality does not guarantee success; the concept must be well defined beyond the type of food served."
Buddy's in Pocatello, an institution there, will remain open, so anyone hankering for "Buddy's Breath" will still have that option.