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I also attended the workshop and was disappointed that the only restaurant option was the same old full service restaurant idea — history has shown it is doomed to fail. However, this time the subsidy will be given up front so it may last a little longer. The board used the past survey to justify “the residents want a restaurant” but forgot about the “at no cost”.
The board stated “it will only succeed if the residents support it”. To help achieve this, the restaurant would also have exclusive catering rights and would be allowed to use the Delaware room to cater outside events. Great, the residents not only subsidize the operation but lose use of their property. The SCA clubs will be forced to use the restaurant to cater their events — even if it provides cold, overpriced and uninspired food — as was done in the past. There is no incentive for the restaurant to do otherwise. The clubs will then go offsite and when it inevitably fails, the board will say, “the residents didn’t support it”.
All of the above comments are valid and spot on and have greater insight than was exhibited by the board. Everyone wants something different: Chinese; American; hot dogs; pizza; or whatever with reasonable prices. Some want it open at 7:00 am for a breakfast snack and others want it to be open until 10:00 pm.
Clearly, no single restaurant will satisfy everyone. I believe the concept of a food court operation should be considered as an option. The existing booths would be removed and replaced with a storefront for 2 or 3 casual type restaurants. Typically, these are about 800 square feet of exclusive space and the back area would be a shared common area for food storage and maybe food preparation. The bar would remain as a separate entity. All of the seating would be of the casual table type in a shared common area. The cost for maintenance of the common area and utilities would be paid via a CAM (common area maintenance) fee.
There are a lot of individuals that dream of opening a restaurant, but they lack the funds needed. They are willing to work long hours and will do everything possible to please the customer. We could have a variety of food concepts – maybe a fresh donut, pastry and coffee shop that opens early for breakfast and lunch. Another might be hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza for lunch and dinner. Another might be Greek food based on old family recipes.
The point is, a variety of foods would be available and have a better chance of pleasing the residents. As is common, some will fail. However, they will not all fail at the same time and therefore, the others will still be open to serve the residents, until a replacement tenant is found.
Instead of a $100,000 to $150,000 a year subsidy I believe there is a number of tenants that would be willing to pay monthly rent for the opportunity to open their dream restaurant and will compete very fiercely to succeed – then the residents of SCA will be winners
This is by no means a complete proposal and after a more thorough review, it may not be feasible but I believe it should at least be given a look. I am disappointed that I provided this concept to two of the new board members during the campaign period and they completely ignored it.