Another restaurant closed in town. They posted a wonderfully grateful goodbye on Facebook, thanking everyone from the staff to the suppliers to the customers to the city leaders (well, okay maybe not that last one). They even apologized for the inconvenience of closing. They said they gave it their best shot but just couldn't make a go of it.
One of my staff, when hearing of the closure asked a profound question...
Why didn't they try something else?
They had the kitchen, the staff, the liquor license, a small group of dedicated followers. Why didn't they try something else?
They had a premium location downtown, a banquet room (a couple of them), parking out back. Why didn't they try something else?
They had ambiance (although a little loud), great window seating along the street, outdoor seating, gigantic fish tank seating, and really cool bathrooms. Why didn't they try something else?
Two things I didn't see happen. They didn't change the menu. They didn't change the pricing. Two complaints I heard the most (besides how loud it was with all the wood floors and vaulted ceilings) were the menu and the pricing.
You gotta get those two right.
The right menu (products).
The right price.
Get those wrong and all the rest doesn't matter. If you're doing everything else right and your business is failing, chances are you got one of those two wrong. Why don't you try something else?
PS I get it that they may have chosen a menu/pricing consistent with the type of restaurant they wanted to be (their brand), but there is a lot of wiggle room within "fine dining" and "upscale" and "top-shelf" and "gourmet" and "specialty" and "unique" and "quality" to work with your particular crowd. Also, it may be that it wasn't the actual menu and pricing that caused the problem but the perception of the menu and pricing. Perception is reality, folks. You gotta win the perception battle.
PPS I'm sad to see them go. I'm not trying to criticize them, but to help you learn from their experience.