Monday, November 02, 2015

Well, I just talked myself out of a good gig...

I don't always operate in my best financial interests. I tend to make enough to get by, then give it away as fast as I can. Finish the mortgage and you'd think I'd have that extra $1400 a month in my pocket. No chance. Give some to my wife/ex-wife; give a bunch to my beautiful daughter Madeleina so she's got spending bucks at college. Bring a lot of people into the house and feed them hysterically well and refuse any recompense. There goes that $1,400.
   That's just one example of thousands. I'm still drinking my wine, so I'm obviously not giving it all away, but probably more than I have to give away.
   And over the last week or two, I gave away a possible gift horse. It was the right thing to do, so I'm not going to regret it, but there are little pangs running through me like razor blades this second.
   What's going on is that two friends who have been on trips with me to Peru decided to start a business there. During conversations with them I suggested that a restaurant with me at the helm might help bring clients to their other businesses and keep a cash flow going. They liked it and liked the restaurant I've been secretly planning for some time.
    I made a couple of other suggestions as well, all as adjuncts to their plans--and no, I'm not going to go into their plans here cause that's nobody's business but theirs.
   Then they went their way and I went mine.
   The two of them showed up at my house about two weeks ago. They were excited, full of moxy and energy and ready to go with a business plan that would revolve around Peter Gorman. There would be the Gorman restaurant; a Gorman club, some Gorman products; Gorman tours; Gorman executive trips to the Amazon--all sorts of all things Gorman. It sounded very sweet and was a tremendous ego stroke.
   Until I realized that I had to be straight with them. I said that everything I'd suggested would work in conjunction with their plans, but that given my experience in Peru, none of what I suggested would individually or even aggregately pay for 4 gringo salaries, space rental, space preparation, apartment rental for those four gringos, etc. No business in Iquitos can do that. I pointed to the successful restaurants in Iquitos that serve tourists and Peruvians with enough money to pay for high end food: Three are owned by gringos who are married to smart Peruvian women; three are owned by Peruvians. None of them have to support four gringos, and none of them could. Their restaurants pay for themselves and make a nice living for the owners but none could do what our restaurant would have to do to support itself with that many gringos feeding at the trough.
   I gave them numbers. I had them use calculators: The end result was that our restaurant would need more dinner clients than any of the successful tourist-aimed restaurants currently serve. And with Iquitos being charming because it's difficult to reach, your tourist volume isn't going to get any bigger with walk-ins.
  It took me several days of going over different aspects of Gorman world and how each project I proposed was part of a puzzle that would succeed, but each would succeed on a limited scope because of the potential number of clients in town at a given time. Iquitos is not New York City with 100,000 people walking past your doors daily.
  And they concluded that I was right. And so the work I was going to start next week was canceled. And they were smart to do that. I've lost a good opportunity. I did the right thing, and I will sleep better knowing that I didn't talk my friends into spending money they could not recoup. And I'm glad I did, but it somehow still feels like I gave myself a raw deal.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

maybe you gave yourself a raw deal or maybe you saved yourself (and your friends) a raw deal with so many layers of funk it would be like a funk lasagna you'd all be eating for days and weeks and months in a row. and we all know how much you love to cook & eat good food!) maybe it all ended up just being a gift that you gave your friends. or maybe something really wild and amazing that you never even knew was coming is coming. probably all of the above :)