Why Restaurants Are Closing Now

Yes, high rent.  But let’s say that the rent is affordable, why then do restaurants close?

In 2018, about a dozen well-known places closed in Boston and  NYC.

Restaurants start with food.  If the food’s no good, people won’t go.

Obvious, right?

But even with good food, if the service isn’t attentive, anticipatory, thoughtful, and empathic, the restaurant’s days are numbered.  Danny Meyer, of Shake Shack and Gramercy Tavern and Blue Smoke and many other places, understands this better than anyone in the restaurant business.

The big thing, once the food and service are reliably good, is that a restaurant must serve a cultural function in its community.  Without that, it simply won’t survive.

Numerous restaurants in Boston closed over the past three or four months, located in hotels or areas frequented by tourists, or in neighborhoods that have changing demographics.  These places never really fit in properly, and it was because they failed to do so that, despite good food and good service, they are gone.

Restaurants, no matter where or when, are neutral public places that exist to provide people a place to go with friends and family.  Boston has a few of these: Santarpio’s, Galleria Umberto, Darryl’s, and Charlie’s come to mind.

But you can expect even more closures in 2019 both in Boston and NYC as restaurants continue to distance themselves from their communities and have little or no cultural function.

In their place, and we’re already seeing this, will be franchises, places owned by private equity geared toward volume, and the most bankable item next to coffee: Pizza.

So grab a slice and hoist a pint of $10 beer.

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