I take a lot of heat for my harsh reviews in general but especially reviews I write of new restaurants which have just opened. People seem to feel that restaurants need a chance to grow before anyone worth their salt writes them up and publishes it to the public (for the record: I am not worth my salt and I don’t feel that I fall anywhere even close to a newspaper or magazine’s reviewer(s)). But as many of you know, I disagree with that line of thinking completely.
When I walk into a new restaurant I am not at all concerned with their service or ambiance. Those are two things which can be changed over time. What I am concerned with is the quality of the food and the ingredients used in that food. It’s my opinion that those two things will never get better over time due to many reasons but mainly economic ones. Why are these two things the most important?
1. First impressions on a restaurant’s “Net Promoters”
“Net Promoters” are the people who are most likely to recommend a restaurant to others. It’s my opinion that people who take the time to realize that a new restaurant is opening and visit it in the first few weeks that it’s open are likely knowledgeable about their community, interested in food, and are the people that their friends go to when they want a recommendation of where to eat.
2. Developing a loyal following
Once a new restaurant has impressed the “Net Promoters” and they have done their duty to spread the word of a new restaurant, the quality ingredients and food need to remain in order to keep their friends and friends of friends happy. These people will probably become a restaurant’s core group. The people who come back time and time again because of the food. I don’t know anyone who eats crappy food at a restaurant that looks nice and I certainly don’t know many people (except single men who need a date) that would eat crappy food at a restaurant just because the servers are nice.
Obviously it is my opinion that the rest of what needs to be done in a restaurant can be learned over time (service, ambiance, etc) but the food has to start out great from day zero. What’s your opinion on all of this? Do you think a restaurant can start out serving shitty food, using shitty ingredients and still be successful in the long term–especially in an economy like we have these days? Are people really willing to spend their hard earned money on terrible food time and time again when there are other standby options available that have already been doing it “right” for a long time? What are your most important things that you look for in a new restaurant? How much time is proper to give a restaurant before you say, “eh, it sucks,” to your friends?
Whatever you have to say about this one, I’d love to hear it. So go ahead and comment on below and let’s hear it. If anything, maybe some poor bastard crazy enough to be opening a restaurant soon will stumble across it and learn a thing or two about the people who are most likely going to be walking through their doors as soon as they open ;-)