My Expense Report, Sir and a Hibernation  - blog post image

My Expense Report, Sir and a Hibernation

My Expense Report, Sir;

Closing for Hibernation from 12/23 to 1/19

Yes, it is true. I find myself forced to close my little Taberna because the expense of opening each day far exceeds the revenue. Since the cold weather set in, our sales have dwindled to a tiny trickle and it is simply not sustainable.

We must hunker down and weather this cruel fate that's been immeasurably exacerbated by an administration that turned its back on its constituency, abdicating all responsibility and spewing lies with each exhale. As Trump and his enablers continue to sow seeds of hatred instead of unity, as their corruption reaches historic proportions, as they threaten our very democracy with their alt-right propaganda, as they hasten to repeal protections for our earth while failing to protect vulnerable citizens and businesses, we look on helplessly and watch families slip below the poverty line and small businesses collapse. I am just one of millions of small businesses in this country expected to save my own self and the employees who depend on me; my heart is with all of them right now. I feel the collective pain of hard-working people watching their savings disappear and their lovingly-constructed businesses disintegrate in this wealthy nation of ours. I lay this horrific scenario at the feet of Mitch McConnell who has staunchly and inexplicably blocked help for families and small businesses. Shame on you.

I will re-open on January 19, the eve of Inauguration Day, when we can once again have hope in our hearts. Please note my quarrel is not with Republicans in general, rather those that are choosing to aid and abet Trump in his nefarious deceit. I quite literally cannot participate any longer in his economy.

I send the hugest virtual hugs of gratitude to all of you who have so loyally brought your spirit and your dollars to Taberna de Haro since March. I literally would not be here had you not. Thank for your patience as we figured out how to run a take-out and delivery program. Thank you for tipping my staff and acknowledging their bravery in serving you. Thank you for understanding the 90 minute dining limit we had to put in place to ensure we could serve enough people each night. Thank you for being flexible with an entirely new configuration of Taberna de Haro. Thank you for understanding that the wine list slipped below 300 offerings for the first time in years, for we had to keep inventory low, and maybe didn't have your favorite bottle. Thank you for understanding that we couldn't offer a $1 oyster program during a pandemic with socially distanced cooks (one less cook on the line). Thank you for appreciating that we kept the marvelous Straight Law Bar program in place, despite the expense, because we knew you have never needed a fine cocktail more in your life.

I thank my employees from the bottom of my heart for their remarkable adaptability, their unflagging devotion to Taberna de Haro, and for their spirit. It has been so difficult to tighten our belts in the way that we have, and yet they bring smiles and a heathy attitude to work. I've never been more impressed by a group of people. AND, WE HAVE SUFFERED ZERO CASES OF COVID 19 IN TABERNA DE HARO, NEITHER THE STAFF NOR THE GUESTS. CLEARLY WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM.

Black Friday just came and went. I bought nothing, but it occurred to me that every week in a restaurant is a Black Friday situation. Monday, you lose money. Tuesday, you probably do, too. Wednesday and Thursday you most likely break even. When Friday and Saturday's crowds arrive, you start turning a profit. FULL restaurants are profitable and half-full restaurants are not. It's that simple. Now every day is like a Nor'easter blizzard blew in.

Since March, restaurants have added to their already hefty expenses. (Did you know most independent restaurants operate at 2-3% profit margin, at best?). Here is a list of additional costs I bore and I'm sure my restaurateur colleagues will tell you the same, or worse. I'm also sure my stress-antagonized brain is forgetting several!

•Materials for the PPP projects (carpentry, equipment rentals, food for recipe-testing, decor updates, etc.) $2500

•Loss of business from March to June for which my insurance company paid ZERO: $350,00

•Printing and ink costs as all menus had to be disposable until September: $850

•PPE: $600

•Reconfiguration of entire patio and restaurant: $750

•Decoration to mask the above: $600

•Take-out containers: $2500

•Heat lamps: $1200

•Propane tanks and refills: $750

•Eversource (inexplicably, as dining rooms were completely empty until September): $15,000

As we are forced to operate at 40% capacity, all of our expenses have remained constant: payroll and payroll taxes, trash and recycling, rent, utilities, state and local meals tax, etc. Many expenses have even increased, such as wine prices thanks to Trump's irresponsible tariffs and food prices due to supply chain irregularities. I thank Open Table for the 4 free months upon renewing for 2 years and my landlord for one free month. I'm also grateful for the PPP loan, but we now see it was an 8 week bandaid for what is clearly going to be a 12 month crisis. Finally, the Town of Brookline is letting us pay our license renewal fees in April, with a 50% discount and for this I am quite thankful. The bottom line is that while earning less than ever, we are paying out more than ever. 

I have created a December Festivo Menu so that I may cook for you one last time in 2020. Also, I am hoping to bring in revenue to help withstand the uncertainty ahead. Available from 12/10 to 12/23, the menu was created with Hanukkah, Christmas, and tiny Holiday Parties in mind. Make your gatherings small, but meaningful and scrumptious. Also, get your Taberna fix while you can because our hibernation is just two weeks away. The menu goes live online tomorrow. (The regular menu will also still be available).

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BY Deborah Hansen | 0 Comment(s)


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