MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 84.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
Collapse Photo Bar

How do they stay in business?

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

How do they stay in business?

Postby crevice beatle » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:38 am

While this could be a thread dedicated solely to restaurants that are so awful, one wonders who's eating there enough to keep them open - I want to include is this discussion any place, good or bad, that makes you wonder why they have not gone under yet; be it bad location, bad food, good food but largely undiscovered, odd ours of operation, etc etc.

The inspiration for this thread is Babs' French Quarter on Williamson St. This place is always empty the few times I make it in. I would say they get most of their business on Sunday brunch, but even then it has been near empty the last few times I've been in. A waiter practically begged me to stick around when I made an order to go the other day. I still tip him all the same - I just think he wanted to create the illusion that more people eat there.
While the owner and staff are very pleasant, I just don't think the food matches with the prices. Brunch is the only thing I will go there for and is pretty decent though I suspect few people even realize they do brunch. Haven't had a large experience with dinner menu items but a New Orlean's Take Out po' boy weighs twice as much as a Babs' at somewhere around the same price. Like, I've said before, this place is consistently empty - whenever they have music, the musicians and staff always outnumber the patrons. How in the hell do they stay open?

Kipps Down Home Cooking near Camp Randall - perhaps I answered my question with the description. I'm never in the area during football games but I can only assume that's where 90% of their yearly profits come from. This place is also always empty when I've visited... and again, competing with New Orlean's Take Out right across the street. The food isn't so bad but after comparing their catfish sandwich with NOTOs, there really is no reason to go back there. How have they lasted this long?
crevice beatle
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:40 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby Steven Van Haren » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:28 am

Nice threads.

Kipp stays in business because of the affordability and superb quality of his whole chickens. He sells most of them to the football players, as you aptly noted. I've had them, and they are worth their weight in gold. I'm not saying it's the best I've ever had, but at $10 for a whole chicken, seasoned well and succulent, you really can't do any better. Good selection of side dishes, if you fish around. But really, it's all about the chicken. They deliver all over the place, as well.

Bab's, Bab's, Bab's... I wonder the same thing: how do they stay in business? I think the right answer belies the question: they don't stay in business. Sadly, and I mean that, Bab's is simply not going to last. And I hate to put that pox on it.

In fact, I take it back. Go to Bab's. Everyday. It's worth it. Order the half muffaletta sandwich, and if you're really hungry, get it with a cup of gumbo or a side of gravy fries. The sandwich is $4.00, for godssake. The food is great, for the money and the location. Order the chicory coffee, brewed often and delicately spiced.

I live around the corner. If this place closes, I'm just going to give up. I can't live with Lazy Jane's and Willy Co-op being my only neighborhood lunch options. And if anyone suggests I go to Willaby's, I will throw up on your giant pancake with extreme prejudice.

I'm going to make it my personal quest to save Bab's via the forum. You've been warned.
Steven Van Haren
Member
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:06 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby Archipants » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:44 am

crevice beatle wrote:Kipps Down Home Cooking near Camp Randall - perhaps I answered my question with the description. I'm never in the area during football games but I can only assume that's where 90% of their yearly profits come from. This place is also always empty when I've visited... and again, competing with New Orlean's Take Out right across the street. The food isn't so bad but after comparing their catfish sandwich with NOTOs, there really is no reason to go back there. How have they lasted this long?

I probably kept them in business for the few years that I lived in the area. I think much of their business is delivery and take-out, though I could be wrong. I've always enjoyed their chicken and sides, especially the Puerto Rican Beans... HOT! Plus, I never had to wait more than 15-20 minutes for delivery! I am not claiming that they have the best chicken, but it is good comfort food and the staff is very friendly.
Archipants
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:04 pm
Location: Madison

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby peapod888 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:03 am

Agreed about Kipps. I love that place. I've gotten food from them many, many times and I think I've only eaten "in house" once. Otherwise, I love getting delivery from them. They are FAST (like, DANG fast) and the food is always superb. I don't think I've ever had a bad meal from them. If you actually go inside, it is really tiny, maybe just a couple booths and tables. I think their business really comes mostly from take out and delivery. I don't know much about the football aspect except when there are games they don't deliver, which makes me sad.
peapod888
Senior Member
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:24 pm

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:32 am

I suppose I can retract my question about Kipps. I do recall getting some barbeque chicken there that was beyond satisfactory. If I lived in the neighborhood, I would definately order delivery from there as another option then pizza. I suppose the reason I questioned how they managed not to go under was because of the sandwiches I've had (compared to NOTO right across the street, not much there) and also, the few times I've gone in there the cook (and I'm assuming owner) is sitting up front reading a book without another soul in sight with exception to the cashier.

As far as Babs' goes, I may have just not ordered the right things. Strictly based on po' boys, there is just way too much bread and their sandwiches are not stuffed with enough other ingredients to constitute the price. Breakfast is good, but again, not sure if they are advertising enough. Even with the economy the way it is, I would think they are in a prime location for this type of restaurant/cuisine. Restaurants are difficult businesses to keep up and running, but I'm thinking their empty booths goes well beyond a simple lack of interest in the place. I'm guessing lots of people have tried it and never had a reason to go back.
crevice beatle
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:40 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:54 am

Babs' is in a bind. If they used better bread, it'd cost more. But if they used better bread, I'd go there more often.

Their shrimp po'boy is pretty damned good, regardless.

I'll cast my vote for Curry in the Box in Fitchburg, but only insofar as I'm not there during business lunch-hour. It's probably packed to the gills then. And it's quite tasty, for those who haven't had the pleasure yet.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8365
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby jjoyce » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:01 am

Allow me to be one more voice in support of Kipp's. I rarely see anyone dining in there, but since I normally get my takeout from them near the dinner hour, there's usually a steady stream of students leaving with takeout boxes.

Plus, check out the UW hoops media guide some time. Over half the players list Kipp's as their favorite restaurant. My guess is the same goes for the football players who train right across the street.
jjoyce
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 12168
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 4:48 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby Osso Muriendo » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:02 pm

I feel the need to question both the sanity and the reasoning skills of the person who started this thread.
First you compare two restaurants with vastly different business models and locations and infer from your limited experience that they are both doomed.
Secondly with regards to Kipps you assume that since the cook (presumably) was out front reading one time when you stopped by that they must never be busy. Look at the menu 90% of the items on there are prepared ahead of time and then cooked until they are filthy delicious. Also you fail to take into account Kipps location as a cheap place to get comfort food right in the middle of a mixed student and upper middle class neighborhood at the intersection of two major near West side homes.

Finally why the hell are you getting sandwich at Kipps? order the chicken you dolt. Or are you one of those people who go to a bbq joint and order a burger. You go to Kipps when you want chicken and those cocaine laced corn muffins.
Osso Muriendo
Senior Member
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:43 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby sitnspin » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:14 pm

Bab's has the best fried cod in town on Friday nights. Seriously. I've had it a dozen times or more and it's consistently good everytime. The shrimp po bo and veggie muffaleta are yummy, as well.
Please try their Friday night fish fry and let's help them stay in business!
sitnspin
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 513
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2002 1:06 pm

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby narcoleptish » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:40 pm

Osso Muriendo wrote:I feel the need to question both the sanity and the reasoning skills of the person who started this thread.


I like the thread and I have wondered the exact same thing about other places for years. The two they chose to mention don't have to have anything to do with each other beyond an appearance of not being busy.

I wonder about pretty much every strip-mall chinese joint in town. China this and china that, similar names, identical menus, served unnervingly fast and topped off with a 6 year old fortune cookie.

I wondered about carlos O kelly's until they recently closed.

The place, (name escapes me) in front of the former Kmart on E wash.
narcoleptish
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3622
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:35 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:54 pm

narcoleptish wrote:The place, (name escapes me) in front of the former Kmart on E wash.

Schlotzky's, and yes! They're dug into the earth like a friggin' hobbit hole, and other than a mild business lunch rush, they're empty as a tomb on Easter.

Plus, generally uninteresting food.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8365
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby wallrock » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:57 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:I'll cast my vote for Curry in the Box in Fitchburg, but only insofar as I'm not there during business lunch-hour. It's probably packed to the gills then. And it's quite tasty, for those who haven't had the pleasure yet.

I've never been for lunch either, but I have often wondered the same. Of course every time I've been to Curry in the Box at night I've been picking up an order, so I suppose like Kipp's take-out makes up a large segment of their business.

I've also worried about Arbat before, but on recent trips there have been more customers.

I also like Blue Mountain coffee next to the drycleaners in Middleton, but it always seems slow when I stop.
wallrock
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:11 am
Location: Middleton

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:23 pm

Osso Muriendo wrote:I feel the need to question both the sanity and the reasoning skills of the person who started this thread.
First you compare two restaurants with vastly different business models and locations and infer from your limited experience that they are both doomed.
Secondly with regards to Kipps you assume that since the cook (presumably) was out front reading one time when you stopped by that they must never be busy. Look at the menu 90% of the items on there are prepared ahead of time and then cooked until they are filthy delicious. Also you fail to take into account Kipps location as a cheap place to get comfort food right in the middle of a mixed student and upper middle class neighborhood at the intersection of two major near West side homes.

Finally why the hell are you getting sandwich at Kipps? order the chicken you dolt. Or are you one of those people who go to a bbq joint and order a burger. You go to Kipps when you want chicken and those cocaine laced corn muffins.


For starters, I don't see how where I infered either place was doomed. I asked an honest question as to how these places stayed open. I pointed out why I asked that question based on, yes, my limited experience, which I had mentioned. Regarding Kipps, I could throw out that I work for the University that none of my co-workers have opted to eat food there in favor of NOTO and Mickey's. Again, this is my experience which I invited discussion on because I questioned where they were making the money to stay open; not casting a doomsday prediction. Notice the question mark in the thread title. Also, if you would've took the time to read further, you will see I retracted my question based on other forons pointing out the amount of business they get for delivery. And I have had the chicken, despite the dolt I am. I also have seen the owner/cook out front doing next to nothing on multiple occasions. Ok, fair enough, he cooks the meals ahead of time - thanks for informing me - it has always felt slow in there and I've been there half a dozen times - not just lunch breaks. To my knowledge, they only have one delivery vehicle and I've only seen it parked there. Again, these are my experiences which is why I invited discussion.

As far as the different business models and locations go... I wasn't comparing Babs' to Kipp's aside from the fact they are two restaurants that I had no idea where there business was coming from to stay open - and I pointed to my experiences. I live one block from Babs'. The place is always empty. Perhaps always is to strong of a word considering I'm not literally "always" outside of their front window looking in.
crevice beatle
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:40 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:27 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:The place, (name escapes me) in front of the former Kmart on E wash.

Schlotzky's, and yes! They're dug into the earth like a friggin' hobbit hole, and other than a mild business lunch rush, they're empty as a tomb on Easter.

Plus, generally uninteresting food.


Great example. Usually dead and not quite close enough to the Easttowne to draw more traffic. Also, keep in mind the dispute over fencing and entrances the owner was in with the buyer of the K-mart property. I'm not sure how or if that was resolved, but it made eating there that much more of a hassle when that was taking place. I believe the print version of the Isthmus ran a story on it.

For a chain, I don't mind Schlotzky's so much. It's fairly quick, simple, cheap, and tastier then other chain restaurants that fall into those 3 categories. If it were closer to me, I'd be eating there more.
crevice beatle
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:40 am

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby aaronetc » Wed Dec 31, 2008 4:29 pm

We went to Babs' for the first time at lunch today. The food was really good, but it took forever with almost nobody else there (a few other tables' worth of people came in while we eating). We waited half an hour for pasta and two sandwiches.
aaronetc
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:06 pm
Location: On the Isthmus

Next

Return to Restaurant News & Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tsur and 0 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar