The Consequences of the All Star Hype

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Kansas City Power and Light

As I sit down to write this post, the American and National leagues are competing at beautiful Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  For the first time in 40 years my hometown is hosting the Major League Baseball All Star Game.  Spectators from around the world are seeing a first rate ballpark in a first rate city.  What is not so obvious to those watching the game is the devastating impact that the mismanagement of the event has caused local businesses.  While many will praise the job that the Kansas City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau did promoting the city, others will be cursing them as they apply for unemployment.

The numbers were clearly stated.  Rick Hughes, the head of the KCCVB, forecasted an impact to the local economy of between $45-50 million.  The CVB sent out personnel to tell restaurants to prepare for a week like they have never seen before.  Restaurants spent months planning menus, placing advertisements, hiring staff, and preparing for a record breaking week.  Extra food was ordered.  Coolers were stocked to capacity with cold beer for baseball fans.  Plates, glasses, and all of the other necessary equipment were purchased to feed the hordes of visitors coming in to town for baseball and Kansas City hospitality.

There was only one problem: the fans never arrived.

I have spoken with people at restaurants Downtown, on The Plaza, in The Crossroads, South Kansas City, North Kansas City, and elsewhere.  The response was the same.  There was no noticeable positive impact to business and if anything the numbers were down.  Locals stayed away from these areas expecting them to be overrun by out of town visitors.  Meanwhile the mythical tourists were nowhere to be found.  Servers entertained themselves in empty dining rooms embracing the hope that “they must be coming tomorrow.”

There is no doubt that Mr Hughes will be receiving a pat on the back from Mayor James.  The media will applaud him for running an event so efficiently that you could hardly notice the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of visitors that came through town.  He will not have to worry about his job.  Those who heeded his warnings and forecasted based on his numbers will not be so lucky.

Restaurants run on very thin profit margins.  The order the minimum supplies they will need and schedule the minimum amount of staff in order to service their customers.  When they are told that a major event is coming to town, they add it into their budget forecasts. They spend money in advance as a calculated risk that the numbers presented by those at City Hall will be accurate.  When those numbers prove to be nothing more than hype, placing blame at the feet of the KCCVB will not be enough to save their job.

Make no mistake that the real economic impact of this event will be felt by those who will lose their jobs because they trusted the public servants that are supposed to work on their behalf.  Rick Hughes’ hype has brought him job security while costing many others their paycheck.  Small independent restaurants cannot afford this sort of loss.  Local businesses will close because they took the gamble of trusting the City Hall hype man’s “sure thing.”

Now I am sure some will point to the successful fan events held in the Power and Light District where they successfully prevented the media from reporting widely on the SWAT team presence and incidents of arrest.  Of course the definition of “local economic impact” is skewed when the money is going to a restaurant that sends profits back to their headquarters in Kentucky to pay back rent to the landlords in Baltimore.  The local entertainment district that brought us a BBQ company from Wisconsin and a steakhouse from Iowa hardly represents the local economy.  As a local resident, I hate paying for the P&L, but doesn’t mean I am ready to pay taxes instead to support the Kordish City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Rick Hughes was not elected by the voters of Kansas City.  I will never have a chance to cast a ballot against him.  I will remember this the next time he asks for tax breaks to fund another hotel downtown or more money to expand the convention center.  It may be too late to save the local restaurants who were damaged by the self aggrandizing economic impact estimates of the KCCVB, but when the reports of closures start coming in I hope we all know where to place the blame.  Mr. Hughes will be taking his victory lap around City Hall this week and I hope that Cordish picks up the tab for his victory dinner.  They owe him one for thinning out their competition.

Jardines Update: Score One For The Little Guys

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Now that the documents are official, I can let the cat out of the bag and write a final chapter on the Jardines saga.  Jardines has been sold.  The new owners are vowing to keep it as a jazz club.  The former owner will stay on for a transitional period.  After that period it is uncertain if she will have a role in the clubs future.  The club will be open for New Years Eve with the new owners and some familiar faces in attendance.

Credit where credit is due, Charles Feruzza upheld his reputation as the most well connected restaurant guy in this city by scooping everyone with the details.  His article covers the sale and has confirmation from the owners.  His is the definitive site for such news.  He even stayed to cover the post after the blog had signed off for the year.  Kudos to Charles.

I am still waiting on a few more details and I will wrap this story up.  I stand by my quote to Charles that to the best of my knowledge only one of the fifteen have been paid.  This includes money for tips left by guests and wages from nearly a month ago and before the Christmas holiday.  I just want the opportunity to share the news with my readers.  Look for an update in the New Year.

The Best of Foodie Knowledge

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Foodie Knowledge was one of the concepts I had when I started my original blog tipsfortips.  The food posts started right away with my first feature “Foodie Fridays.”  Eventually I discovered that writing food related posts on a weekly basis was a bit of a strain.  Instead, food related posts were featured on the blog as they occurred to me.  They fell into two basic categories: posts about food and posts for foodies.  When I started Foodie Knowledge, I wanted to make it about more than just food.  It also covers dining out and posts about restaurant culture from a guests perspective.

More than any other blog on the network, Foodie Knowledge is based on search engine traffic.  Search engines traffic is not always based upon how often the subject of the post is searched for.  Instead it is based upon a combination of how often it is searched for and what spot the post comes up in the results.  This means that the most commonly searched for posts are not always the ones that receive the most traffic.  Instead it is usually the posts that are written about by others the least.  That should explain a lot about this list.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

The Best of Restaurant Laughs

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(Note: Someone asked me why I was celebrating my first year of blogging when it had been so long since I posted.  Apparently, they missed the memo that I moved my blogging from this site to my new set of blogs at The Hospitality Formula Network.  This week I will post my “best of” posts on this site as well to give some of my older readers a taste of what they are missing on the new sites.) 

As part of my recognition of the “birthday” of my first blog, I am recapping each of my blogs this week in a “best of” post.  Many of the posts on Restaurant Laughs originated on my tipsfortips blog before migrating to The Hospitality Formula Network.  I wanted to give a peak behind the scenes and show you what some of the most popular posts have been since the migration.  Then I am looking back on some of the posts that are my favorites to give my new readers a chance to catch up on some of the best posts from the past.  Let’s start with the most popular.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

The Updated Indexes

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When I started transitioning away from this site in December, I posted an index for each of the new sites.  This all seemed pretty helpful to those who ended up here by accident.  Well that was months ago and plenty of new content has been added since then.  Here are the links to each of the new blogs and their newly updated index pages.  Enjoy!

Tip²: Tips For Improving Your Tips

The Manager’s Office

Foodie Knowledge

Restaurant Laughs

2010 In Review

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I found out today after reading a fellow bloggers post that I got this email from WordPress back in January.  I decided to post it for two reasons:

1) Someone out there might find it interesting.

2) To remind anyone that sees this pop up in their blogroll, that they should change the link to my new site http://www.hospitalityformula.com

For those that are curious, this blog was active from mid April to mid December of 2010.

Here is what WordPress sent me:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 40,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 185 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 183 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 51mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 8th with 402 views. The most popular post that day was Servers.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were slightlycrankywaitress.blogspot.com, tonyskansascity.com, facebook.com, doyoudothatathome.com, and teleburst.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for blue crab, crab, blue crabs, crab jokes, and restaurant story tips.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Servers September 2010
2 comments

2

Foodie Friday: Types of Crab June 2010
5 comments

3

Fun Crab Facts and Jokes August 2010
2 comments

4

Foil To-Go: The Swan May 2010
5 comments

5

Supply, Demand, and Chicken Wings August 2010
7 comments

October Review

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I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween weekend.  It is also the end of the month so I decided to do a quick recap of October around the blog.  This was a huge month for the blog.  It far exceeded my expectation for traffic and hopefully provided so interesting content for those who visited.  I generally don’t post on Sundays, but may begin to take the first Sunday of the month to recap the previous one.  Let me know what you think.

Over the last month I have posted 27 times in 31 days.  That makes it a pretty busy month.  I am not sure I will be able to hold the same pace through the holidays, but I will try to keep my focus on quality rather than quantity.  I have some great topics in mind and some awesome new sources of inspiration.  I am actually very excited about some of the posts coming up.

The ten most viewed posts written in October:

1) 10 Reasons Why Serving Is Not Like Your Job

2) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/9

3) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/16

4) Serving Sober

5) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/23

6) Tipping On To Go Orders

7) Restaurant Etiquette: Quiz Answers

8 ) Thank You!

9) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/2

10) Lobster Facts and Trivia

Of course very few people would have read those without some great bloggers referring them to me.  If you haven’t checked out these fine folks, you absolutely should.

Top five referrers in October:

1) The Only Slightly Cranky Waitress

2) Tony’s Kansas City (natch)

3) Do You Do That At Home?

4) So You Want To Be A Waiter

5) Frothy Girlz

As far as overall traffic numbers this month should finish at just over 6400 views with an average of 210 a day.  These are by no means stats that set the internet ablaze, but I am proud of them.  This blog passed the six-month mark during October.  I remember sitting by the computer just a few months ago hoping to break 200 views in a day for the first time.  Now I average that number which I think is pretty darn cool.  It also gives me excitement for when I can look back at these numbers and chuckle.

I try to say this often, but I do not think it can be said enough.  Thank you so much for reading this blog and being a part of its success.  It does not exist without all of you reading and sharing your feedback.  When I started it, I never imagined it would get to this point.  Your continued support inspires me to keep on typing.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Thank you for visiting and telling others about it.  This can only get bigger with such a tremendous group of readers.

I have a few ideas for November that I think will make for good reading.  I have consulted some very wise folks to gain insight on how to appease some of the more difficult guests we all face.  A few holiday themed posts are also in store.  I am starting to get a much better feel for what you all enjoy reading and sharing.  I will continue to cater to those wishes to the best of my ability.  Tomorrow, I am going to try yet another Monday feature.  I think I have all the kinks figured out and finally have a workable idea.

This would be a great time for you to chime in too.  What do you want more of?  What makes you click the link to come visit?  What have you always wanted to know about, but haven’t felt like researching?  What difficulties do you face at restaurants?  This blog is intended to be a resource for you.  Tell me what I can do to make it a better resource.  The comment section is open for your ideas and I can also always be reached at hospitalityformula@gmail.com.

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