I’m constantly reading in Naples Daily News and The News Press about restaurants closing. Most recently it was:
- Midtown (Corner of 41 and Golden Gate Parkway – Naples)
- Fish Crazy (Tamiami Square – North Naples)
- Stage Deli
- Rusty Bucket
- Taps Restaurant and Lounge
SO WHAT IS THE DEAL?
It’s easy to understand if a start-up, first-time operator shuts its doors. As a third-party leasing agent, I get numerous calls from people that want to open a restaurant. When asked “have you been in the restaurant industry?” more often than not the response is: “No, but my mom makes great lasagna!”
But these are NOT Mom and Pop, first-time operators.
Mike Hernandez with Midtown has created several local concepts over the last ten years such as: Hob Nob, Michael’s Café, Bistro 821, Handsome Harry’s Third Street Bistro, and recently launched The Public House in January of this year. He’s well-versed in how to run a restaurant. Stage Deli had been in operation for over seven years!
Randy Essig of Fish Crazy recently owned Randy’s Fish Market in North Naples and Rodes Fresh & Fancy Farmers Market in Bonita. Hernandez determined that the Midtown concept was “too upscale” for the area. He feels a more casual approach would have worked better. With Fish Crazy, Essig cites a dissolution of a partnership to be the downfall of the restaurant.
The restaurant industry is a tough one, if not one of the hardest, in which to be successful. As an owner or manager, one has to be hands-on 24/7.
Couple that with the seasonality of our Southwest Florida market, it seems extremely daunting to run a successful restaurant, but it makes me appreciate the local businesses that have weathered the storm and figured out a successful business plan.
It’s important for our community to go out and support our local restaurants so that we can preserve the uniqueness that is SW Florida and keep driving tourists to our area to boost our economy. I look forward to seeing what new restaurants backfill these high-profile locations!