I was wondering if the Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association was still in existence. With the casino opening, I was wondering if a pre-emptive marketing campaign for Downtown Restaurants could in fact soften the blow. I know the short term the answer is no, but long term, say 2-3 months after the Grand Opening, yes. I would hate to see a free fall of Independent Locally Owned & Operated business closing their doors from lack of business. I personally think the Casino is a game changer for small businesses in the area, but the fittest can and will survive.
So, I am looking for information on a local restaurant association to help with the answers, and um... well we DO or DID have one, but with their web presence being what it is (non-existent), I'm not sure what good they are, IF we have one. Last Internet activity was 2 stories published in 2007 (The Blade) and 2008 (Free Press). I have a phone # and Address, but just shocked they don't have a website, and without a website, how do they showcase their members, or promote their mission?
If there are restaurant owners on here, what are your predictions, (or what is the word on the streets) as to the effects of the casino on Downtown Bars and Restaurants?
I have to admit, even though I shouldn't be, I am surprised how little information was published for small businesses to prepare and survive AFTER the opening. From what I understand, the casino is aiming to be operating in the black in 18 months, meaning at least paying off $300 million, and a large portion coming out of OUR local economy in 18 months. With Detroit and Cleveland having their own casinos, our casinos' outside source of revenue are South and West of us.
BTW, has anyone had any meetings concerning the projected impact of the casino on local businesses other than the stuff the casino was putting out get the law changed? Sad how the local media seems to have neglected the subject.
The Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association is no longer around.
As for the impact of the Casino on local businesses, I think everyone is in "let's wait and see" mode. For every negative argument there is a positive one. I can't imagine it would hurt downtown restaurants though.
Agreed, Molsonator: I see the casino drawing different different segments of the available local entertainment dollars than that which is spent by regular guests of downtown eateries. It should cut into the flow of gamblers traveling to Detroit and Windsor, but when I dine downtown it is because: a) I like the restaurant; b) I have errands downtown; or c) I am at a downtown event.
If I chose to go to the casino it would be for the gambling, and any food that I ate would be coincidental. If the new casino has some all-you-can-eat buffet specials going on, that might hurt the Golden Corral crowd, but I have yet to eat casino food that was especially remarkable (i.e., good enough to make me only go for the food).
You touch on some things I've wondered about, GT. In the past week, I've stopped into two new restaurants and spoken to the proprietors about our very own TT. Do they plan to announce their presence, do they know that customers post comments here, etc.
In both cases the owners are older middle-aged folks who don't use the internet. Yet they have Just. Opened. Toledo. Restaurants.
I think there might be a place for some entrepreneur to step into the knowledge gap here and offer some basic web marketing services -- especially if the restaurant association is no longer around. Anyone want to work for free food? ;-)
Regarding the casino, I march to a different drum but I surmise that all kinds of restaurants might take a hit during the grand opening period at the casino. Diners will be curious. I kind of expect that the casino will settle into a giant version of what bowling alleys used to be, a catchall public space for people who want to get out of the house to do something other than shopping.
I would expect to see all of the middle-aged and senior-citizen population to desert the Franklin Park Mall in favor of tooling around inside the casino.
Convention visitors will probably hop on the casino bus in their free time ... maybe not our stalwart Seventh Day Adventists, but perhaps the many rounds of bowling tourneys we have here. And the golfers. GT's right: the downtown spots might be looking at a conventioneers drought.
viola, it's a real issue. I already help out a few restaurants and businesses with their online presence. not for money... just to help out. and it boggles my mind how many places are just totally unaware of how important it is to give your business a voice online.
as for the casino, i for one look forward to checking it out! if the food is good, which i suspect it will be, I'll enjoy the change of pace for a night out.
but i'm not a gambler, and as far as my social circle is concerned... no one around me is a gambler. so i doubt we'd visit the casino any more than any other establish, say the docks.
toledo likes convenience, so i doubt downtown workers are going to jump in their cars, go over the bridge, deal with a parking garage etc just for a quick bite to eat. so personally, as a restaurant owner downtown, I am not concerned about it affecting my business.
Upso - I have one client who is a restauranteur. I have dealt with 1/2 dozen including some famous names in town. Advertising agencies stay away from them. The profit margins are way to small, you always want cash up front and the value of your work is rarely noticed. Viola - Working for food doesn't pay the rent. One time we were told we couldn't spend more than $50 a visit (When we did do this) . Apparently we were taping out the kitchen.
90% of the people I do work with become friends. I have yet to feel comfortable around a client who is a restauranteur. Never met UPSO though so I know they are out there.
Stop in sometime and say hi! :)
For restaurants ONLY, I'll work for TWO $25 gift cards / certificates per year that will be added to a collection and the accumulation of gift cards will be packaged and donated to charities for the purpose of being auctioned off at a fundraiser.
I don't do free anymore because no one respects it. The # of times I have jumped into my car and driven across town for an owner / management not to show up, or not have a restaurant ready to be photographed and ask for another appointment/s, is to numerous to mention.
But hey, in order to get the website growing and help out my fellow business owners I think the barter mentioned above is a win win situation.
OOPS, forgot to mention, the above mentioned offer is for Independent Locally Owned and Operated businesses.
Yeah, maybe the work opportunity would be more attractive for a student instead of an established professional. I did some writing around town a few years ago, and I agree with your vibe about restaurateurs. Sometimes they were really nasty to me, while I was at their place interviewing them, trying to get them some publicity. :-) Go figure.