by Jean Womack
I admit that my idea of eating out is buying a loaded baked potato salad from Safeway and eating it in my car. However, I have eaten out enough to know that there could be many reasons for a restaurant to lose customers that have nothing to do with competition, as was mentioned in a recent Neighborhood Council meeting as a reason to deny a permit to Subway.
An additional restaurant in the area is another reason for hungry lunch-out customers to go an area that has restaurants. So the competition reason not to have chain restaurants, just does not hold water. Restaurants that teenagers enjoy going to is something that it would be nice to have in or near the Point, since I do not feel safe having my teenage granddaughters visit me the way things stand nowadays, unless I kept them in the house the whole time and did not let them wander around by themselves, if it was actually possible to do that. I am thinking about Subway or Jamba Juice. Teens LIKE shopping centers, in case you hadn't noticed.
People with younger children like going to MacDonalds because they have lists of food nutrients so they can teach their children how to count calories and fat and so they don't have to go home and cook for them. This nutrient list is something that Point Richmond restaurants don't have. Macdonalds welcomes children with little gifts that a grownup will get in trouble for ordering for themselves. Macdonalds is training camp for potential restaurant customers. Don't worry, they will eat in your restaurant when they grow up. Some MacDonalds even have whole play structures, and you have to have a child with you to enter them, though that is not posted either. If you don't understand that, you didn't grow up on this planet. That's what people mean by culture: you just grow up KNOWING it, it's part of the culture.
So what if your parents never took you to Macdonalds when you were growing up. You are culturally deprived. So maybe the real reason some people resent MacDonalds is because they probably tried to climb up in one of those play tubes and were told they weren't wanted there anymore. You need someone to explain the facts of life to you: that they still can refuse service to anyone, just not based on race or religion. Maybe if they understood that many of their customers are culturally deprived dummies, they would put signs up in their restaurants like: "Adults are not allowed to enter the play structure unless accompanied by the child they brought with them." "Adults are not allowed to order happy meals meant for children or suffer unnamed consequences."
At another Macdonalds, when I ordered a Happy meal, the server put her hand gently on top of my hand as if to say, "You're covered. We know you have insurance." I have seen in an art book Voodoo Veve writing that looked to me like a golden arches M with a pin stuck in it. I guess that's something the ordinary citizen wouldn't know about, but I got a masters degree in art, and we learn about things like that in college.
And now down to the nitty gritty: the REAL reasons why restaurants lose customers
1. The food does not taste good.
2. The food is cold.
3. The customer did not get the food he or she ordered.
4. The service was slow and the food came late and was not hot.
5. Prices are too high.
6. Not enough parking.
7. Restaurant does not open or close on time.
8. Portions are too large.
9. The customer had to wait too long to get served.
10. The waiter or waitress or owner was disrespectful and unfriendly.
11. The establishment has labor problems.
12. The restaurant uses child labor or does not pay the help the minimum wage.
13. The restaurant was dirty.
14. The bathrooms were dirty.
15. The place smells bad.
16. The server argues with the customer.
17. Decor of the restaurant includes images the customer does not want to look at while eating.
18. The owner and server are constantly putting down other people and businesses.
19. Uncomfortable seats.
20. Loud music the customer doesn't like.
21. Psychedelic drugs in the air.
22. The restaurant failed to advertise in the local newspaper, thus missing out on a steady stream of new customer referrals.
It's just a little too easy to blame other people for what these restaurants do to themselves. Their customers are so loyal that they really have to work hard to drive their customers away. We're talking about NEW jobs in addition to the ones we already have in the Point that are possibly going to get NEW customers to get off the freeway at Point Richmond to go to a familiar chain restaurant. Then they find out about historic Point Richmond and all it has to offer.
Wouldn't it be nice to get a nice brand new Chevron station with an EM convenience store attached to it for our neighborhood? We can't do that if the local area is zoned to prevent that, as the Neighborhood Council recently got the City Council to do. Chevron says they are going to open hundreds of new EM stores in California and around the country. Maybe if we are nice to them, they will design it so that it fits in with the historic theme that has already been developed.
I have been nominated to be on the Point Richmond Neighborhood council. I am one of two candidates for that office. I hope you will come to the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council to vote for me April 27 at the community center at 7:30 p.m. You have to be a member to vote. Membership is $10. They usually let a person join right before the meeting if they want to vote at that meeting. I hope to see you then. I need your vote to turn neighborhood council policies into a pro-growth, job creating, hopeful family and future-oriented organization.