4/28/10

About the price increases ...

To our dear customers:

You may have noticed that the prices on the menu have increased. This has everything to do with the cost of doing business, and was a difficult decision that Preefer and I had make to keep our heads above water. We haven't instituted a proper price increase that accurately reflects our costs going into the product in years. Unfortunately, the cost of running a restaurant has increased exponentially, and the money coming in hasn't reflected that.

When Cliff started Chow all those years ago, he wanted to ensure that he's being fair to everyone. Fair to the Earth, fair to the animals, fair to his customers, and fair to his workers. Unfortunately, it's not been fair to himself, as he hasn't taken home a salary in more years than I care to count. It's also meant that we've had to forcibly keep our staff small, so that the money coming in doesn't completely get put into payroll before the incidental (repairs, replacement of equipment) and repeating expenses (rent, taxes, utilities, food, supplies) get paid, and we get chased out of the space.

As it stood before the menu cost increases, we were losing money. The labour, the cost of materials, the cost of running the space, and the amount of time everything takes to make (nothing is pre-made, everything is made from scratch) was quickly stifling our growth, and making it impossible to serve all the people who wanted the food. With only two kitchen workers and a delivery person, it was a juggling act of massive proportions to get any work done to grow the business. So we hired more people. And a couple more. And another. So now the work was getting done, but Preefer wasn't taking anything for himself.

Then the cost of our produce started to increase for random things that we go through (for example, over the span of a week, the cost of our onions doubled). And as any fair employer will tell you, a good worker is hard to find, so to keep him with you, you offer raises and other incentives so that the worker will want to stay. To keep someone at minimum wage when they're doing maximum work is unfair, and not a good way to get things done. So wages increased.

All this time, over the years that we're growing behind the scenes, we're still charging the same amount of money, even though our operating costs are increasing. It got to the point where we could no longer do things like we could in the old days. Gone are the days where one wait person was sufficient to cover the restaurant. We've had to hire another person, the lovely Nena, to take some of that pressure off of our servers. You've been there, I'm sure. It's a busy brunch, and it takes like 10 minutes to get your coffee, by which point, it's lukewarm. It's a crazy busy weekday night, and you're waiting 25 minutes for your beer. It's not a good look. We can do better for ourselves, and most importantly for you.

So in that vein, we're pushing to improve the level of service, the quality of the food, and everything about Chow, so that it's a place that you can come, and know that you're fully taken care of. And, at the same time, everyone who's working here is taken care of too.
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