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Reply To: Why The Restaurant is an Amenity

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Jim Furse

(Copy of email Erika Furse sent to

A Restaurant or not in SCA? We have maintained for years that a full-service Restaurant up here is not sustainable nor viable. There are so many eateries in the vicinity with choices of meals and at reasonable prices. Casinos offer a multitude of Restaurants to choose from with the added benefit as a destination which is attractive to most people wanting to eat out occasionally –or to entertain friends or family members.

There is also the question of fairness to a Tenant It would not be right to lure a Restaurateur up here (who may have little experience or knowledge of what it takes to run a Food-Restaurant and make a profit) with promises that we know we cannot keep simply to accommodate a handful of residents. For those that do not understand the complexity of the restaurant business, following is an example of the process that needs to be considered to brake even financially and, at best, make a profit: First, a menu has to be put together, itemized by identifying how much of each ingredient goes into it. These items/quantities have then to be priced based on what he has to pay for them in the store. That will be his cost for just the ingredients. Then he has to consider all the cost of doing business [such as rent, insurance, taxes, utilities, etc with the highest cost-item being employment-related (65 % +, labor-intense business)]. The sums together give him the base to which he has to add whatever percentage to make a profit. At today’s cost of running a full-service food restaurant, in the absents of a guaranteed flow of guests (which could not be expected up here) and high demand of alcoholic beverages (about 30 % profit vs 10 % on food), could not be sustained, especially under the existing conditions mentioned above.

But, does that mean no restaurant at all? There is a large Senior community in Arizona which seems to have just the right solution. In a regular restaurant-setting, the residents, who want to have a brake from spending all the time in their home, can go there to read, meet neighbors, friends, family members, play games, and eat, sort of “a la cafeteria”. At one corner of the room, they have a set-up where they offer healthy salads, soups, sandwiches, all sorts of bakery goods and deserts, coffee, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, other beverages, etc., at very reasonable prices. Guests can spend there as long as they wish, even if the restaurant is not open.

What our Management and Board members have to realize is that they are in the employment of us, the home owners. Their duty is not to accommodate the wishes of some friends or a few neighborss, but to find out through proper channels of communication what the community as a whole needs. They are expected to weigh the benefits of a decision to all versus the potentially resulting higher financial burden to the home owners. It is safe to assume that a great many Seniors up here live on a fixed income and every penny counts.

As for the excuse of an “Amenity”, which translates into an Agreement, it was understandably used by Del Webb to attract and stimulate newcomers to the development. These necessities have long changed!

I hope that these thoughts are in someway helpful to the community, and I want to emphasize that the above is my personal understanding and opinion.  Erika Furse, SCA resident