June 1st, 2014 by ~ 3 Comments

The Little Restaurant That Could

First off, let me make it clear that I am not anti-arena

kev overlooking PBA

I am referring to the story that appeared in INC magazine last week that describes the effects that the Pinnacle Bank Arena has had on our business in the last nine months.  If you have not read it, here is the link to the article, else the rest of this post may not have context.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201406/bo-burlingham/you-can-keep-your-regular-customers-amid-change.html

As described in the story, the opening of the arena brought about some very sudden changes in the Haymarket, most of which had to do with infrastructure and parking.  Guests can recall the good old days of coming downtown and easily finding a street side parking stall near the destination of their choice on any day of the week.  Those days are now gone.

Before

Our story can be interpreted as one of grumbling and complaint, or it can be seen as two entrepreneurs trying to find a solution to help a thriving little business keep thriving.  I’ve been in business long enough to know that there is no business as usual. Every season brings its new challenges.  Soon after we opened our doors in 2007, wheat prices skyrocketed, and the Atkins “carbs are evil” fad was in full swing.  Now beef prices are through the roof and everyone is celiac.  There will always be something that requires adaptation and a fresh set of eyes to discover new solutions.

After

You may wonder how Inc Magazine found us?  It all started with Twitter and an act of gratitude.  In January, I tweeted @dhmeyer for book suggestions I should read in the upcoming year.  He immediately replied Small Giants by @boburlingham.  After only a few pages into the book, I sent a tweet to Bo telling him how much his work was resonating with me.  He then asked me to send him my thoughts once I finished reading.

pinnacle bank arena

And so I did.  In my two page reply I briefly mentioned the season of change and the struggles we were having, to which he wrote back and asked if I could elaborate a little more.  This is when he explained his role with Inc and the article he writes for entrepreneurs.  He asked if I would be interested in a phone conversation with him and his friend @normbrodsky.  Of course I said yes.

This is what I appreciate about the fraternity of entrepreneurs. Wherever you go, you’ll find the resonant understanding that comes from shouldering the weight of a small business first hand.  They know those sleepless nights of worry over payroll, and inadequate cashflow.  They have stared into the abyss of bankruptcy and have dug their heels in deep and hung on for dear life.  They, too, used every possible resource at their disposal to keep from sliding over that edge.

Thank you, Bo, for taking interest and reaching out to us.

And if you haven’t’ read his book, you’re missing a gem.

small-giants

 

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Giants-Companies-Choose-Instead/dp/1591841496

 

3 Responses

  1. Bill Horner says:

    I wish you much success as this evolves. My wife and I visit Lincoln frequently. Our daughter lives and works there. Your restaurant is far and away our favorite place to eat, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We have always enjoyed the experience. We are quite willing to put up with parking issues. Lincoln is a dynamic and growing city. Keep up the good work.

  2. Having read the article in Inc. and being an entrepreneur I thought that you explained the reality very well and not grumbling at all. Until a person, or couple, has to actually make a payroll they never understand the pressure. Waiting for a paycheck twice a month is nothing compared to creating that paycheck for others.
    I liked Mr. Brodsky’s thought of utilizing your email list to advantage. An Arena Event Special with a free ‘treat bag’ to take to the event or free celebration drink after the event.
    My immediate thought would be to try valet parking, for the evening meal at least. College students could park and retrieve the cars and benefit from the tips they receive. An arrangement with a garage or after work office parking lot might be made available for a reasonable trade out or cost. I will appreciate any restaurant that will allow me to get out at the door and then return my car when I am ready to leave. We work with several banks in Lincoln and I look forward to my next visit so that I might enjoy Bread and Cup.