I may have missed this . . . or not. Just saw this on Bati Bleki. Hollywood Smokehouse is closing this week. http://batibleki.visitaruba.com/8am-...end-of-an-era/
The end of an era
The Hollywood Smokehouse will be closing its doors at the Alhambra Casino & Shops
It pains me to report that one of my favorite restaurants is closing. Not because the owners lacked passion, patience or perseverance, but because times are tough in the restaurant business, as they are in retail, publishing, event planning, you name it.
The Hollywood Bar opened decades ago, in San Nicholas, as a general audiences American Rock n Roll bar just outside the red light district. Then when Mike met Tina, they also opened a Southern BBQ kitchen and the Hollywood Smokehouse was born. On opening day a certain minister cut the ribbon, and then convened a meeting with some department heads, over sumptuous lunch. They left without paying their bills. And I am still resentful.
When the refinery closed, and business dried up in San Nicholas, the Hollywood Smokehouse moved to town and shared a location with the Old Dutch Café until the building sold. Then the smokehouse operated under tent on weekends at the Tropicana Casino. There might have been another short-lived incarnation, in Noord.
The regular patrons of the Hollywood Smokehouse followed faithfully, everywhere, because the food was always spectacular, smoked low and slow, in plentiful portions, paired with incredibly delicious craft cocktails.
It was a mom and pop operation. A small family-run business. What does it mean? It means you loan your employees the money to buy wedding engagement rings and baby beds; it means you give your employees time off for school and the opportunity to travel; it means you invite your employees home, you worry about them, you let them have 100% of the tips, you pay the money out, same day, and you keep zero breakage for the house; you treat them like family and it shows, in the attitude and in the general mood.
But, by definition, mom and pop businesses have difficulty competing, they are small in scope and modestly financed and ultimately the disappointing business volume in the low rise hotel area and as expected, high rent, did the restaurant in.
What can we say? Location, location, location. Substandard rib places do well, in the busier high rise area.
This week, I threw caution to the wind. I went for ribs and brisket on Sunday, ribs and pulled pork on Tuesday, and on the last day, Thursday, I am going to order ribs, brisket AND pulled pork!
Tina reports she is working on the next incarnation of the Hollywood Smokehouse, format might change by the taste and quality will stay the same.
Monday morning quarterback: When you open a restaurant, and fulfill your dream, you find out that what it really means is hard work 24/7, as your suppliers, your landlord and your employees challenge you every day and test your resolve to stay in business. They really wear your stick-to-it-tive-ness, out.
I found the following itty-bitty information on line: Five questions to ask yourself before starting a business.
- Am I prepared to work way more than 40-hours a week?
- Do I enjoy managing people?
- Can I go without paying myself for months if needed?
- How long do I want to run this business?
- Who will take over the business if I no longer want to run it five, 10, 15 or 20 years from now?
In addition to these five annoying questions that no one with a great idea wants to ask, below are nine categories of business to address very closely before taking the leap into the exciting world of food and beverage:
Financials Are your pockets deep, very deep?
Location, Location, Location did you land the primo location?
Advisors Do you have a bona fide expert by your side?
Technology make sure you work smarter not harder.
Competitors Are you going into a saturated market?
Secret sauce What sets you apart? What makes you special? Is there anything unique about your product?
Partners Are they greasy, greedy slime-balls or equally fired up about the exciting opportunity?
Team Are you people fully trained and qualified
Equipment & suppliers You didnt buy your equipment in China, did you?! And can you rely on your suppliers to always stick to specs?
Bottom line: We would never venture into any business, never get married, never have kids, never act on any of our ideas if we truly thought everything out. Most of the time we just go with our gut!