National: Experimental Restaurant’s Mixed Results

Do you remember back in April when we wondered, with guarded optimism, if restaurants that charged customers on a sliding scale or voluntary basis could succeed? Well, it turns out at least one of them can’t, but amazingly, the problem doesn’t seem to be in the One World Everybody Eats business model, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“As the restaurant grew, I didn’t have the expertise at running a kitchen,” acknowledged [owner Denise] Cerreta during a media teleconference call on Friday. “We needed more structure and a more professional kitchen.”
A recent review of the business showed the restaurant was overstaffed and management of employee time was poor. It never even had an employee time clock. The restaurant also had failed to keep concise records of food costs and fixed costs. All told, mismanagement cost the restaurant $8,000 to $10,000 a month, Cerreta said.”

But let’s not forget, also, that nobody has any money anymore, and of course that had something to do with the restaurant’s own hard times. According to the article, the average customer donation fell from $10, at its peak, to $7 over the summer. It’s hard to tell whether that decline had to do with customers’ disappearing bank accounts or the restaurant’s own mismanagement. Probably a little of both.

So it would appear that a few things necessary to succeed as a restaurant include well-managed money, a legitimate management presence, and, possibly charging money for the food. Possibly. The One World Everybody Eats cafe did survive for five years, and Cerreta insisted in the article that they’re not going to close now. But darn, it seems that, on some level, Cerreta faces the choice of charging her customers or paying her employees. Oh, that’s an easy one.

Restaurants That Rely On The Kindness Of Customers [MenuPages]
One World Everybody Eats [Official Site]
Nonprofit eatery can’t bring home the bacon [Salt Lake Tribune]

[Photo: Via One World Everybody Eats

National: Experimental Restaurant’s Mixed Results