First rule of business


By now, the owners of The Red Hen, Lexington have begun to understand the first rule of business, which is do not turf out good, paying customers, even if you don’t agree with their politics.

The second rule of business is do not make your business completely unattractive to 90% of your customers. This from??Stuff?Quote:

Top Wellington restaurant Hillside?Kitchen and Cellar is?dropping meat from September 4.

It’s a striking move that?underlines big changes to?eating habits as more people turn away from meat.

Owner?and chef Asher Boote admits as much. End quote.

First of all, Hillside is not a top Wellington restaurant. It is a grotty converted house, with very cramped dining conditions. It is in a good location, on Tinakori Road, but there are much better options just up the street.

But I digress. Quote:

He says while there are a number of reasons for his established restaurant to make such a bold change, following the growing vegetarian and vegan market is one of them.

“No, it wont be everyone’s cup of tea, but I?think this is a chance to?improve?on what we are doing,” he says.

“I?don’t?necessarily see it as a negative stepping away from?something. I?think it might reach a few more people who?wouldn’t?have?thought?about us and it kind of sets us apart.”

He says no-one else is doing a vegetable focused menu at the higher-end like Hillside in Wellington.

“The growing?conversation?around?these?things is huge and the stats are that?more?and more people are eating a lower amount of meat or no meat, so we are just moving with the times really.”

He agrees there is some risk, even if the tiny 24-seater size helps minimise that. End quote.

Here’s a little bit of business advice. If you think something is a business risk, then evaluate it carefully. If you evaluate this option carefully, there is only one conclusion you can come to. By putting your restaurant off limits to the 90% of people who eat meat, even if we are all eating less meat these days, you are not being eclectic and edgy. You are heading towards disaster. Quote



“There’s always worry. I’m in the restaurant business and it’s a pretty harsh game anyway. But we are not changing our philosophy, just our ingredients.”

Will he call it a vegetarian restaurant?

“Technically it definitely is a vegetable-driven restaurant.?It’s vegetarian, we are?not?serving meat.?Whether that’s?the term we are going to pick up on, or just the ‘meatless’?one, or ‘these are the products we have and this is what we are cooking’?… ” It’s not been decided yet. End quote.

A’ vegetable-driven’ restaurant. Sounds like a food truck with a cauliflower at the wheel. How about ‘a restaurant where ingredients eaten by 90% of the population are not served.’? There. That sounds edgy and trendy.Quote:

Boote is looking forward to the tighter focus making the kitchen more creative and innovative. And there will be a closer connection to the ingredients?of which?many will come from an expanded kitchen garden. End quote.

A closer connection to the ingredients. I hope he uses some of Continental’s ‘responsibly grown mushrooms’. The mind boggles…

…does he mean he has chats with his carrots before murdering them? Good grief. Quote:

Hillside is three years old, has a?Cuisine?hat, and featured in a glowing 5-star review from?Stuff?food critic David Burton this month, who called it: “a perfect example of?bistronomy,?that French-led rebellion against pompous haute cuisine”.

He said Hillside presented?”high-end gastronomy in a low-end bistro setting, away from the expensive centre of town.?Hillside fits the model in every respect”. End quote.

Which is a polite way of saying that the place is a dive. Which it is. I have been there occasionally, but won’t be going back until it changes hands again. Which it will.

Have some vegetarian options by all means. Make your menu half vegetarian dishes, half meat dishes. But driving away 90 % of your potential customers is business madness. Only a virtue signalling idiot would seriously want to do that.

Either be a business person or an activist. You cannot succeed at both.