Thursday, September 10, 2009

Restaurant Survival at Mammoth Lakes

This article was written by Jack James, Score Orange County Management Counselor and Newsletter Editor

clip_image002Tony Rojas, a former Orange County realtor, has owned and operated restaurants at Mammoth for 10 years.

This ski season his upscale Alpenrose restaurant was about to become a recession casualty like other Mammoth restaurants. Dining was at low levels, as low as 15 customers per day. He needed a new business model quickly if he was to survive.

From the market research, 90% of patrons wanted good food at lower prices. Amenities were way down the list, price was the determining factor.

He closed the restaurant, changed the format and remodeled the dining area. Six weeks later he reopened with new menu and lower prices. The plush booths gave way to tables and chairs. The wine inventory was sold off. The major conversion was walk up ordering and paying for your food.. Good food is served quickly and diners save about $4 per plate. No tip required.

The Fireside Grille is a family friendly restaurant where you get BBQ ribs, bratwurst, pastrami, house wine and beer. Try it when you visit Mammoth.

Tony projected 75 meals per day when he reopened. The first week 150 meals per day were being served and it’s increasing as the people hear about the restaurant. The only marketing is word of mouth.

The lesson here is if your niche isn’t working, maybe its time to rethink the business model and make drastic changes.