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Restaurant? Bar? Or both? | Letter
What is the difference between a restaurant and a bar that happens to serve food, but calls itself a restaurant and bar?
On Monday night, my family and I wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. Instead of going in to Seattle, I chose to stay in Redmond, to help support local businesses in our community. Being a small business owner here, I know the importance of keeping it local.
After much consideration, I chose to go to a place we had yet not tried. I had looked at their website, liked what I saw on the dinner menu and figured we all would enjoy the meal. Upon arriving at the front door, there was a notice — not very large print (especially not noticeable as you drive by) — that said minors not allowed, 21 and over only.
Now, this is the second time we have encountered this in Redmond. After reflecting on the fact that the first place was a “pub” and advertised as such, it made sense to me that minors would not be allowed. However, my complaint with Monday’s spot is that it is advertised as a restaurant as well as a bar. Now common sense would say to me that if the word restaurant is in the name that families would be welcomed. Apparently I was wrong. Needless to say we took our business elsewhere, and because of this, we will not return there either.
As a small business owner, we do have occasion to entertain clients and conduct business meetings at local establishments. While it may not be what some consider a large amount of money that we spend on these outings (we’re not Microsoft after all), it is a substantial amount for our business every quarter.
It is said that for a bad experience a customer has, they will tell at least 10 to 15 people, those people will then in turn tell others and so on. As a business owner, this does not sit well with me, as I’m sure it does not resonate well with other business owners either.
Lastly, Redmond is not Bellevue. I expect to find places catering to the over-21 crowd in Bellevue due to the demographic that they are trying to appeal to. And that is great. I appreciate having the option of being able to go to places where I will not encounter a crying baby, or other possible kid disruption of my meal or evening.
That being said, Redmond is promoting itself as a family friendly community — as it should. There has been a huge increase in the number of families moving here — just look at the enrollment (and overcrowding) at the local schools. Maybe the establishment we left on Monday does have enough of a core clientele to keep them in business for the long run, but it would seem to me that a simple solution would be to have a portion of the restaurant set up for the over-21 crowd and another section for the families that would like to enjoy what they have to offer, as well. If nothing else, make it a little more clear on the restaurant as well the website, that you are a “bar” that happens to serve food and are catering to a certain demographic. The tiny print at the bottom of the main page is easily overlooked, especially when I can search for your menu page and bypass the main page.
Michelle Becker, Redmond