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How do they stay in business?

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

Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 31, 2008 4:46 pm

I've always wondered how The Atlanta Bread Company on University stays in business. Perhaps they do brisk breakfast sales, 'cuz they're completely empty at lunch, at dinner and on the weekends.
The lack of customers doesn't prevent their employees from being completely inattentive, unhelpful and slow, of course, but it does make me wonder how they pay their bills.
On the other hand, Panera Bread, just a stone's throw away, is always busy. And although many swear that Panera is vastly superior to ABC, I honestly don't think there's that much difference. And ABC sometimes has live musicians!
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby workboy7 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:00 am

Bab's is a trainwreck. Inconsistent food and service, shabby half-done interior, and the reek of impending failure oozing out of every dirty crevice. And for Christ's sake, if you can afford to replace your front door, take the time to paint it at least!
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:03 am

Atlanta Bread on University has wifi, which brings customers regardless of how generic the food might be. It doesn't seem to be badly run -- everybody follows the franchise rules, whatever they are.

I am not a fan of sweet pastry, but they have good soup and sandwich lunches, fast service, and a pleasant clean dining room. When I have to do something on the west side, it's where I stop for lunch. Atlanta usually has customers -- the main part of the parking is in back so you can't tell by how many cars are parked in front. Also it's on the bike path. I hope it doesn't fail -- it's kind of an oasis. My experience there has been completely different from Wags'.

I prefer ABC to Panera which often has a waiting line, no empty parking spots, and is crowded and chaotic in comparison.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby boston_jeff » Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:18 am

Bab's is too expensive? Hm. Not sure that judging a place on amount of meat per sandwich vs. another place of equal price is a very convincing argument. The sandwiches, fries and rice dishes I have had were all tasty and reasonably priced, and I was full after eating them. Good enough for me. The cajun chicken and shrimp po'boys are not huge, but not petite either, and the muffaletta is good sized as far as the meat (though they use the wrong bread if you've ever been to NO).

If you choose places on lbs. of food per dollar, we're probably not going to like the same stuff, but I don't find Bab's to be overpriced. Kipp's chicken, yes (its good).
Last edited by boston_jeff on Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby workboy7 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:47 pm

boston_jeff wrote:Bab's is too expensive? Hm. Not sure that judging a place on amount of meat per sandwich vs. another place of equal price is a very convincing argument. The sandwiches, fries and rice dishes I have had were all tasty and reasonably priced, and I was full after eating them. Good enough for me. The cajun chicken and shrimp po'boys are not huge, but not petite either, and the muffaletta is good sized as far as the meat (though they use the wrong bread if you've ever been to NO).

If you choose places on lbs. of food per dollar, we're probably not going to like the same stuff, but I don't find Bab's to be overpriced. Kipp's chicken, yes.

I will bet that Bab's does not have a firm grip on what their food costs, based on the varied sizes of food I've received. Remember, good restaurants always serve the same size, quantity, quality, prices, and service. When two or more of those variables change, strange things are afoot at the Circle K. When they all constantly change,...then they are doomed to die or called Jolly Bob's.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby boston_jeff » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:30 pm

I've never had bad service, food or widely varied sizes of portions at Bab's. And the portions were always fine. Since moving to Madison I have lived in 2 apartments nearby and have eaten there 5 times (not a small sample). Its by no means the best resto in town, but they serve up decent NO fare for the price. That said, I think the nabe has spoken, and the lack of customers means they are going out of business, into debt, or both.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:48 pm

Hmm. I have a Restaurant.com gift certificate for Babs'. Mayhaps I will go there this weekend.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby boston_jeff » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:37 pm

Do it while you can. Mayhap, or something!

Btw, the every meal should be the same size/quality/speed model would never work over here. And these Europeans, they know a little something about good food! Had stuffed mushrooms at a taperia a few days ago, and they gave us one. Thought to myself, thats odd, one mushroom? The bill reflected only one shroom, so we were straight (plus they gave us free Moscatel). The taperia was so good, we went back the next day. Because the shrooms were excellent the day before I ordered them again. The waiter said "uno?" I said "dos" thinking 2 shrooms total. We got 4 this time. They were awesome again...assume they ran out of fresh ingredients the night before.

Only in the US are we so anal about food that it has to be the same every time. I look forward to seasonal menus and recipe tweaking for this very reason.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby workboy7 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:32 pm

Btw, the every meal should be the same size/quality/speed model would never work over here. And these Europeans, they know a little something about good food!

Where do I begin?

Over where? Where are you? What Europeans are you talking about? Is Bab's run (or overrun) by illegal immigrants? Are we talking food, service or what...?

McDonald's has somehow scraped by offering the same size/blah/blah for years, but I'm sure that's just an anomaly.

I'm not done yet with bitching about this thread if this idiotcy continues......tell me folks, am I wrong to complain about "Btw, the every meal should be the same size/quality/speed model would never work over here."

Please,...be blunt
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:26 pm

DO tell, what's McDonald's' culinary reputation?

Hush up now. You're an insider. We get it. But chefs and cooks aren't robots. There's no reasonable person that would expect identical output every day of the week, when staffing, ingredients, time, etc., all change from hour to hour much less day to day.

And boston_jeff's in Spain, in case he's too busy having fun to reply to your ornery self.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:20 pm

I was at Bab's last night to catch some of the Clovis Mann show, which was excellent. I had two bottles of Nutbrown. They were both the exact same size and price and were served in roughly the same amount of time. The quality of each was outstanding and together they delivered the perfect little buzz.

The place seems a little undone/unkept, but not in an intentional it's-all-about-the-food kind of way.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby boston_jeff » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:37 am

idiotcy. nuf ced.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby O.J. » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:57 am

TheBookPolice wrote:Hmm. I have a Restaurant.com gift certificate for Babs'. Mayhaps I will go there this weekend.


My sister gave me one for Christmas, but she just got an e-mail stating that they are no longer a part of that promotion.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:05 am

I can only assume that that's just a courtesy in case your sister was hoping to buy more. Money has been paid, so trust me when I say that I will be getting my money's worth out of the already-purchased certificate.
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Re: How do they stay in business?

Postby crevice beatle » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:22 am

boston_jeff wrote:idiotcy. nuf ced.


Regarding your point on restaurants not needing to serve the precise same portion every visit, I will not debate. I can also recognize why simply feeling fuller per dollar amount spent does not necessarily make one place superior to another.
Understanding these things is why I have given Babs' (apostrophe is actually after the s - there's an interesting little State Journal write up about it up on their wall) multiple chances. This and it's right down the street from me and the staff seem genuinely friendly.
My point is that Babs' has been remarkably consistent with their portions. In my opinion their portions (or ratio of ingredients) are consistently skewed - I will admit, as far as dinner goes, I have only had their Po' boys so I can't speak on behalf of their other dishes beyond the fact I've heard the same thing from friends. My idea of a Po' boy is a sandwich stuffed with ingredients...be it shrimp, catfish, chicken, lettuce, tomatoe, pickle, etc . Wasn't the original idea of po'boy sandwiches made from restaurant leftovers that were heaped on some cheap bread - something that even poor kitchen workers could afford to fill them up at the end of their shift?
History aside, Babs' po'boys never leave me satisied. Of course portion is secondary to actual flavor...but when the portions (nor the bread as you pointed out)do not stack up to any other po'boy you've had (and yes, I've been to New Orleans) it's a bit disappointing considering they boast New Orlean's fare.
Despite the fact their brunch is something I would recommend if you don't want to deal with crowds at Lazy Janes or the food (yuck) at Willaby's, I have still had similiar experiences with their omelets. Thier omelets are tasty, and unlike the po'boys are filling. The issue being, the tasty part of the omelet only seems to to encompass 1/8 of it. If you order an omelet with crab, onion, and cheese, do you expect to be hunting for the crab, onion, or cheese as you eat? I could understand going lighter on the crab... and eggs are the base for any omelet - it's just that after eating half of the thing, I start to onder why I didn't go next door to Willaby's for scrambled eggs.
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