Restaurants open. Restaurants close. And last month brought its share of both. And since I regularly get asked what I think about the new places, or the ones that went under, here’s what I think, free of charge.

I gain no satisfaction watching any business go under, because I am a businessman. I started with a dream, a little idea that got nurtured into reality. I know the feeling of excitement and anticipation. I know how much work is involved in hashing out all the details, in coming up with list after list to check over twice in making certain you have everything you need to open and operate efficiently and effectively. I know that regardless of how much you plan, there is still something you overlooked and have to catch it on the fly.

I’ve lain awake in bed through the wee hours of the morning wondering if my idea is good enough to succeed. I know what it feels like to be rejected by a bank for a loan, and fearful no one will believe in you enough to front you the advance. I’ve experienced the insecurity while waiting on delayed construction, putting a strain on the cash reserves you started with and not knowing if it will be enough.

I’ve felt the pressure of making payroll every two weeks, and of wondering how I’m going to pay all the bills by all the right due dates. I am familiar with the side effects of all this stress, physically manifesting itself in high blood pressure, bone aching fatigue, and the inability to get adequate sleep.

So I know a little bit about starting a business. Watching all that come to a premature, final end is not in the original picture.

No, I don’t need to gloat that I’ve made it and someone else didn’t, because I also have a firm grasp on how fragile life can be. I’m one crisis away from extinction, one lawsuit away from oblivion, one accident away from watching my dream vaporize. Anything could happen. No business is bulletproof. You may have a bigger bank account than me, but neither of us has any guarantees. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.

And when I see a new place come along, just as I wrote about Panera Bread opening downtown, I invite them in the game openly. One thing I love about being an entrepreneur here is that Lincoln has that one thing that every entrepreneur looks for; opportunity. If you haven’t noticed, Lincoln is not oversaturated with good, independent and locally owned places to eat, and if the Arena Project is approved, that opportunity is only going to get better for me and every other gambler ready to put the chips down on the felt.

My role is not to ascertain why so many food places are closing, or whether or not a particular place will succeed or not. I was always told that un-asked-for advice is never really advice, but instead, criticism. Unless you hire me as a consultant, you don’t need me to be your critic.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner…

One thought on “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner…

  • November 18, 2009 at 3:22 am

    kevin, very well put! i can not agree with you more.

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