Same venue, Mexican cuisine. I met with the wife of the owner after the first week of the grand opening. “I know the history of this location, I explained. I also am familiar with the other previously failed restaurant ventures here and would like to set a time meet to share these insights.”

She set up a meeting between me and her husband at their other location. Unlike the new one, this one was old, dingy and smelled more like a barn then a place to dine. The man was friendly, and asked me how I could help him. I began by sharing some history of the previous failed restaurants at their new acquired location. Each business had a separate story reflecting disastrous management decisions and poor marketing execution. My intention I explained, was to help ensure that his new acquisition would not join the graveyard of failed restaurants in this locale. This location I explained can be profitable. The demographics support it both from price points and patron capabilities.

I then offered him a menu of options from $650.00 to $5,000. While the lowest option offered ideas for quick marketing, the higher one provided a real long-term marketing strategy. “You want to start with something I suggested. Just sitting there with your sign up alone won’t cut it. Additionally, you need to demonstrate to the community that you are serious about making your place a long-term locale that isn’t like the other previous ones.”

I left him with the list of options to consider and said that I would be in touch with him in a couple of days. When I followed-up with him his reply was somewhat expected. “Let me see how many customers come in over the next several weeks – so we can start generating some revenue, then we can get back to you.” Realizing where this was going, I simply replied, “I wish you luck.”

Last week I collected on a wager I made with one of my business associates. I had correctly guessed to the day, when they would be closing. Once again, here was another restaurant owner who went into a location on the hope of succeeding but without the necessary working capital to make it happen.

Prior to this (two failed restaurant’s ago) I also reached out to the Property Management Company. My voicemail message stated “that I wanted to meet with them to discuss how we might end the vicious cycle of failed restaurants in the same location from continuing.” No reply. It seems that for them, they would prefer wasting precious time and resources on getting unqualified and inadequately sophisticated businesses into their shopping center just to fill the space. No long-term planning there!

Consider if they had elected to meet to discuss how we could partner with them to ensure that their lessee’s had the business and marketing support to ensure that their new tenants were not only successful there, but from the success of this locale, be able expand to other locations as well? Perhaps the property management might benefit further by helping them in this expansion by offering additional locations. So who is at fault? The landlord or the business owners? I contend both. What do you think?

John Russell is Principal of The Russell Consulting Group. Since 1995 his firm has advised small – to Fortune 500 companies in the US and Europe. He can be reached by calling 512-217-3205 or through

Categories: Marketing