A Story We Thought Illinois Horse People Should See


My Name is the Horse Racing Industry

My name is the Horse Racing Industry, but you can call me the Industry for short.

       I, the Industry, am in the restaurant business. We sell hamburgers and salad and steak and other stuff, who cares, it doesn't matter.

      My restaurant has been around for decades, and in the 70s and 80s it thrived, but then new restaurants started opening up. Now folks had the option to eat Thai or Greek or Kentucky Fried Chicken and a lot of them decided they liked those foods better than mine.

     My restaurant is facing hard times, and if things don't turn around I might have to close the doors. I need to get some of my customers back from KFC.
     KFC offers their customers free refills on fountain drinks. If I have 300 customers who want a refill, and I can charge them $2 for those refills, I'm losing $600. That just doesn't make sense to me. KFC must not be very smart.

     There's a burger joint up the street that sells what many people say is the best burger in town, and it's priced at $5.50 with fries and a drink. At my restaurant, a burger costs $6.50, plus another $2.50 for fries and a drink. A lot of people have told me the burger is just so-so, but we've been making it this way forever so why fix what's not broken?

     One guy used to eat at my restaurant three times a week, but he now frequents the Thai place. I was talking to him the other day, and he told me that if I priced my food more competitively he might come back. I told him that a) I don't see how there can be any correlation between lower prices & higher sales, b) if my remaining customers want me to lower my prices they should start a "restaurant customer's committee" or board or something like that and c) lowering the prices will significantly hurt my margins.

     I sometimes ask my good friends what I should do to get people in the door. They admittedly know very little about the restaurant business and openly call eating out a stupid waste of money, but they seem like smart guys so maybe they'll have a good idea.

    One thing they suggested was some live music. I got a local band to come and play and charged $5 at the door on music nights. Brilliant. The Greek restaurant also has live music. The bands they get are better than the one that plays here, and they don't even charge admission! They're missing out on a huge opportunity.

     I just can't figure out for the life of me why people don't eat here anymore. This new generation just isn't interested, I guess. Hopefully my plan to up the price on a garden salad from $5 to $7 will help.

     Please let me know if you have any advice for me,

     Your friend,

The Horse Racing Industry