DonRocks

Victims of Expansion - Name Your Sad Example Here!

17 posts in this topic

Anyone have the inside skinny on this restaurant? Click

Yes. It was once a really good pizza place in Columbia Heights, and has since fallen victim to expansion, along with ...

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The Lebanese Butcher Restaurant. Ok so the expansion wasn't to multiple restaurants, just to one ginormous one, but it just isn't the same to me anymore- the food, the ambiance, the service.

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Can I just say, though, that plenty of single-location restaurants go downhill...they have their A game going for the reviews and early crowds, and then decide to rest on their laurels. Or, a good chef moves on. Or, the owner loses interest. Or...the list goes on. There are lots of reasons restaurants decline, or fail. I'm sure there are many restaurants that have expanded locations and suffered quality declines at the same time, and I'm sure there are many restaurants that have expanded and suffered quality declines because of the expansion. But correlation isn't causation...I'd just caution us to think about the reasons we believe the two are linked in any given situation.

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Can I just say, though, that plenty of single-location restaurants go downhill...they have their A game going for the reviews and early crowds, and then decide to rest on their laurels. Or, a good chef moves on. Or, the owner loses interest. Or...the list goes on. There are lots of reasons restaurants decline, or fail. I'm sure there are many restaurants that have expanded locations and suffered quality declines at the same time, and I'm sure there are many restaurants that have expanded and suffered quality declines because of the expansion. But correlation isn't causation...I'd just caution us to think about the reasons we believe the two are linked in any given situation.

If there is no correlation, then would not the laws of probability indicate that we should also find an equal number of restaurants where the quality actually improves with expansion?

It may just be a question of the number of hours in a day and the ability to focus. Restaurant Vero seemed to be doing just fine until they added a Catering Company, then a Wine Store, and finally Tap & Vine. I cannot prove it, but I think there is an inevitable dilution of whatever it is you start with whenever you expand to any significant degree. I do not think this is limited to restaurants.

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If there is no correlation, then would not the laws of probability indicate that we should also find an equal number of restaurants where the quality actually improves with expansion?

Didn't say there is no correlation, just that because there are many reasons restaurants go down hill, we shouldn't buy into an assumption that the reason is always expansion when a restaurant is getting bigger. We should have a reason for believing that's what's going on. The reason could be timing (e.g. quality decline mirrored the expansion), or dilution of staff talent (e.g. the location that kept the original chef is the only one that's any good), or whatever, but we should have a reason.

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Austin Grill.

Legal Seafood.

La Plaza --> nice Lauriol Plaza --> evil Lauriol Plaza.

Phillips. At least I imagine the original crab house in Ocean City was probably good a very long time ago.

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Taylor Gourmet.

Five Guys. Although, I will say that many Five Guys are just as good as the originals, but there are some bad ones out there as well.

Elevation Burger. I never really liked this place, but my wife loves it and has been increasingly disappointed each time that she goes to the one in Falls Church.

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Hard Times Cafe

Ledo Pizza

Both places have interesting, inexpensive versions of chili and pizza, and you're OK when things are humming along. Things get dicey at the fringes.... of the menu, of the opening hours, of the waitstaff....and the franchise system starts to show.

also maybe Farrell's, Friendly's, Hot Shoppes, Giffords

I suppose the more interesting question is....what, if any, restaurants benefitted from expansion? Maybe the Blacks' group? Maybe Clyde's / GARG?

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I think GAR benefitted to a point from expansion, but about the time the 2nd-3rd Sweetwater opened, I think it started to lose the food flavors that had put it a couple of big steps up from places like Chevy's. It started tasting more and more mass produced about then, IMO. I hadn't noticed so much except that I had a crab bisque at The Wharf one night and the next day at lunch I had the crab & corn chowder at one of the GAR locations, and the difference in the vibrancy and pop and cleanliness of flavors was huge. Wharf's tasted like cream and crab and broth, and GAR tasted like a lot of slurry with some crab thrown in.

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I hadn't noticed so much except that I had a crab bisque at The Wharf one night and the next day at lunch I had the crab & corn chowder at one of the GAR locations, and the difference in the vibrancy and pop and cleanliness of flavors was huge. Wharf's tasted like cream and crab and broth, and GAR tasted like a lot of slurry with some crab thrown in.

Isn't that kind of an unfair comparison? Isn't it a little like saying I had a prime rib dinner at Restaurant A and the next day at lunch I had roast beef hash at Restaurant B? Restaurant A's was great, and B's tasted like a lot of potatoes with some roast beef thrown in?

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I'm not sure why, but two "victims" come to mind: Againn and Generous George's (where expansion really did one of the place in and they had to choose between the two).

I would say Lost Dog and Pho 75 (mind you, though, for the latter, I can only get their Chicken Pho, so that is what I'm basing it on).

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Isn't that kind of an unfair comparison? Isn't it a little like saying I had a prime rib dinner at Restaurant A and the next day at lunch I had roast beef hash at Restaurant B? Restaurant A's was great, and B's tasted like a lot of potatoes with some roast beef thrown in?

I used that as an example because the difference was so striking. When they first started offering the crab & corn chowder at GAR it was quite a fine soup, but it had been losing appeal a bit at a time. However, during the era that the Sweetwaters were being opened, overall I felt the food just became more Sysco-fied.

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