Friday, December 30, 2005

So It's Definitely Not a Curse...

...that's caused all our favorite live-jazz-hosting neighborhood coffeehouses to shut down. (You may recall that I was wondering just such a thing after the third such venue in which I'd played had gone belly-up in the past year.) Rather, it really is the nature of the beast, as exemplified by this article in Slate, written by a guy who opened such a coffehouse with his wife in New York City. The place lasted six months, and it almost destroyed his marriage in the process. Here's the key quote:
The failure of a small cafe is not a question of competence. It is a sad given. The logistics of a food establishment that seats between 20 and 25 people (which roughly corresponds to the definition of "cozy") are such that the place will stay afloat—barely—as long as its owners spend all of their time on the job. There is a golden rule, long cherished by restaurateurs, for determining whether a business is viable. Rent should take up no more than 25 percent of your revenue, another 25 percent should go toward payroll, and 35 percent should go toward the product. The remaining 15 percent is what you take home. There's an even more elegant version of that rule: Make your rent in four days to be profitable, a week to break even. If you haven't hit the latter mark in a month, close.
Read the whole thing; this sure sounds like what happened to the three places where I used to play. (Hat tip: Althouse, where I also appear in the comments with a mom-and-pop business horror story of my own from college.)

You knew this had to be in California, right? Developers in Hayward, California are complaining that the local street-numbering system is messing with the city's feng shui.

A few days late, but still funny: Neal Boortz sends politically correct holiday wishes.

1 comment:

Gary P. said...

About this feng shui stupidity, it reminds me of an awesome Mark Steyn column I read recently where he writes:

The Western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return we've developed a great cult of worrying. You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book "The Population Bomb," the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." In 1972, in their landmark study "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.

Read it all.