According to a WCCO piece I caught online by John Lauritsen, it is a weak economy to blame for Temple having to close its doors, rising food costs, a sluggish economy (let me tell you, this is a full-blown recession and could approach depression standards very shortly). I logged on to several local blogs and news sites and checked out the temper of the commentary, and several posters got it right. As they see it, and as I wrote four months ago, there will be a lot more closings across the region as the discretionary budgets of Minnesotans shrinks.
Temple was not a victim of the economy as much as it was a casualty of its own miscalculations of the marketplace. Restaurants close because customers don’t go. And Temple failed to create a compelling reason for being there. The food was poorly conceived and executed from the get-go, the chef was gone within the first year, and naked sushi is a more desperate attempt at wooing customers than half-price wine nights could ever be. It’s an important distinction to make because restaurants still work, in good economies or bad, so long as they are resonant with customers and create a business model within their own four walls that allows them to quickly adjust their costs to stay in line with their weekly haul and customer counts. In rugged times, simply thinking (as I believe Pham did) that if you build it they will come is a mistake of the highest magnitude.
The reason I launched my BODY COUNTS in these pages last year was to illustrate the point that the amount of people in your restaurant on a given night is the single greatest indicator of long- and short-term success. We had to suspend our counts because travel schedules and the like in our office, but I would encourage readers to take some body counts as they make their way around town. You might see some interesting trends.
Heidi’s restaurant, Heidi and Stewart Woodman’s restaurant, appears in this months Condé Nast Traveler’s annual “Hot List” guide to the “world’s most exciting new establishments.” Check out the May issue of Condé Nast Traveler or visit the website.
IACP Awards were handed out not long ago and Lee Klein's November 22 article in the Miami New Times, "Eat Shit and Die,” won an award. Klein’s piece detailed the dirty little secret that food animals are fed feces in the American Ag system. Other secrets that I have heard and read about recently include, but are not limited to, male chicks thrown into trash cans as soon as they hatch in egg farms; male calves torn from their mothers at birth and slaughtered before they are one-day-old; pig farms slice off the toes, ears, and tails of live piglets using knives and no painkillers; meatpacking plants (slaughterhouses) keep it a secret that up to four out of ten animals are not properly stunned, and the list goes on.
For real conspiracy theory freaks, here are a few pieces of food for thought: Some think the USDA isn’t really interested in mad cow disease because finding it would be bad for business. The American Medical Association keeps it a secret that there is overwhelming evidence linking dairy products to cancer. The American Veterinary Medicine Association keeps it a secret that food animals are pumped with hormones and antibiotics, which are directly responsible for many antibiotic-resistant strains of disease. Anyone else care to chime in? In the light of the fact that industry spokespeople are now saying that the powers that be are willing to concede that downer cattle have no place in the food system, it might be time to start stirring the pot.