Restaurateurs seek support

By Steve Perez
In the face of a report that shows area restaurants at risk in the current economy, local restaurateurs are trying to get the message out that people should support their industry.

The report, commissioned by the local chapter of the California Restaurant Association, shows that the failure rate of restaurants is likely to be higher than in recent years, according to Kent Sims, the San Francisco economist who began probing the local industry in February 2008.

He projects that 3 percent to 5 percent of local restaurants may not be in business next year. That falls roughly between the normal failure rate of 2 percent to 3 percent in any given year, and the 7 percent reduction he observed in the Bay Area in the aftermath of the “dot com” crash and post 9/11 concerns, he said.

Large employer
The study also found that restaurants are a big part of the local economy, employing 105,000 workers, or 8 percent of all private employment. The median hourly wage, which takes tips into account, is $28 an hour.

Meanwhile, based on information from WSL Strategic Retail, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that “more Americans are eating at home, eating at lower-priced establishments and picking lower-cost items from menus.”

Lehn Getz, president of the CRA’s San Diego Chapter, who owns Cafe Coyote in Old Town, is among those who say restaurateurs are appealing to the budget-conscious eaters.

“It’s now a great time, with all the local restaurants offering great values and special menus,” she said. “As the No. 1 employer in San Diego, it’s a great way to support the industry and enjoy a night out at the same time.”

Local observers
As to predicting who the local winners and losers might be, area restaurateurs were reticent.

“Every segment of the industry has strength and weakness,” said George Hauer, owner of George’s at the Cove. “I have friends who operate restaurants in lower price points, like Mexican food, that are doing very well, and fast foods as well.”

He observed that McDonald’s was one of the few restaurant-related stocks in the S&P 500 that gained ground in 2008.

Other owners are bullish on their own prospects.

Count Robert Vigilucci, owner of seven restaurants from La Jolla to Carlsbad, among those. In the face of severe economic headwinds, Vigilucci is sailing ahead with plans to open another restaurant in Coronado this year.

Improvement ahead?
“The good news is, the economy will turn around. It will get better,” he said. “Obviously, it would be better if it was not (slow), but it is what it is. Business at our other locations is pretty good, so, I think we’ll be OK.”

Others, such as Mike Morton Jr., president and CEO of the Brigantine Family of Restaurants, including locations in Azul Steakhouse in La Jolla and the Brigantine in Del Mar, say they hope the number of restaurateurs in business doesn’t drop drastically.

“I personally really hope that’s not the case,” he says. “As you know, competition fosters better results and products, so I really hope the competition stays there.”

Related posts:

  1. Sad economy brings dining happy hours
  2. Azul makeover in works
  3. Restaurant Week is on its way
  4. Imposter poses as dining writer
  5. San Diego Restaurant Week celebrates fifth year

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=6177

Posted by on Feb 19, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RSS LA JOLLA NEWS

  • Rita Szczotka of La Jolla applies her business savvy to charitable causes
    Rita Szczotka graduated from Hoover High School in 1976. She was crowned Miss San Diego, Fairest of the Fair in 1977 and a runner up to the Miss California pageant that same year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from National University and San Diego State. After 20-plus years in the financial industry wor […]
  • House of Week; 8720 Cliffridge Aveneu
    A Perfect Blend of Luxury and Harmony 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3,321 estimated square feet. State-of-the-art gourmet chef’s kitchen. Open and functional floor plan. High-end remodel. Wenge hardwood flooring. Air conditioning, custom paint, & home lighting automation. An expansive grassy & lush backyard. Spa-like bathrooms. Close proximity to beache […]
  • La Jolla Family Dentistry treats those with special needs and expert knowledge
    Special needs dentistry patients are a focus for Jana Osmolinski, DDS, at La Jolla Family Dentistry. Jana, a trained dental anesthesiologist, and her husband and partner, Eric Osmolinski, DMD, have worked as a dental team in town since opening newly renovated Draper offices in August 2013. […]

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS