Six weeks? Unbelievable. He should have just bought Powerball tickets for short-term entertainment.
There are fools, damn fools, and wannabe restaurant investors. NB.
(And then there are the few who know what they're doing; lang may yer lum reek!)
I had originally logged on to express whatever inadequate words of sympathy and support I could offer to this very noteworthy and praiseworthy effort.
As someone who, despite the outward appearance of enviable success, was barely able to salvage four of my six functioning operations from near total failure at one point or another, and who recently had to leave on the table what should have been my entire earnings from the past two years as well as what would have been my foreseeable earnings for the next three to four years in order to avoid an even greater failure, that inadequate sympathy and support still stands.
However, the degree of uninformed or speculative vilification (or at best partially informed or mis-informed--I too am speculating here) from people purporting to be experts in the restaurant business (if I knew how to multi-quote, I would have included Don's snark-face with the above quote) forces me to comment, perhaps inappropriately, on a few basic points of restaurant ownership and operation.
To be fair, the sloppy and imprecise reporting in the link to the Post above, rather than clarifying what appears to my eyes as the obvious situation, seems to have added fuel to the vitriolic fire.
Defective journalism notwithstanding, to anyone with an actual knowledge of the basic workings of the restaurant business (Jeff, your admirably heartfelt and passionate reaction to this news was based, at the time, on less information than has since become available to others, and no disrespect is intended) it would be more more than reasonably likely to infer that the reviled cattle "farmer" Carl Miller (I would love to see what happens to a reporter in Texas who calls a cattle rancher a farmer, but hey, who I am I to question anyone's authenticity?--insert self-mockery smiley face here) is actually the property's leaseholder (or owner) and what most would consider to be the restaurant's actual "owner".
(The dirty little secret--one of many, really--in the restaurant business is that outside of debts, liabilities, access to the check book and the account books before the investors get to see them, most of what we call "restaurant owners" don't own shit besides whatever houses, cars and jewelry they put in their wife's or kids' names).
In the article, despite its flaws, it is nonetheless reasonably clear that the chef and managing partner were operating under a management agreement of some sorts and did not hold an equity stake in the business--despite the clear inequity regarding their substantial investment of sweat equity. Further, it seems reasonably inferable they were actually the victims of a third, un-named managing partner who by neglect or lack of experience and/or necessary wherewithal failed to fulfill the necessary financial accounting requirements of the agreement, thereby violating it and at some point voiding it. This by the other partners' own admission. Whether financial misconduct by this person effecting both the owner and the operators can also be reasonably inferred by the circumstances is anyone's guess.
All of this pure speculation on my part, I hasten to add--but from a professionally knowledgeable position.
As regrettable a loss as this is, and one that we are correct in being enraged or highly disappointed by, I would hazard to say that the named parties on both sides are equally victims in this story.
I am sure that on the talent and craft and professional side, nothing will keep these creative talents from rising to their meet all of their challenges and fulfill all of their potentials. And as far as the restaurant owner is concerned, it seems as though he is making genuine efforts to restore sustainable employment positions and restaurant services to the community to the best of his ability and with whatever resources he has available (When did a family member or friend coming to the aid of another become a bad
thing on this board?).
On a final note, my personal apologies to all involved for hijacking this topic.