Fail fast may be a hyped aphorism for entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t seem suited to small business like shops and cafes. In recent times I’ve noticed an increasing number of small businesses failing very fast. Process shop on Brunswick St was open for about a month. So was the Cleaver and Quill / Something More cafe fiasco. In comparison New School Canteen was a veteran lasting about six months.
The latest place to fail as soon as it opened is Garden View cafe on the Collingwood side of Smith St (where Bistro K Korean used to be and Foo-Doo’s before that). It got the full Boredshit / Good Fodder PR treatment and was operated by the owner of Phamily (a few doors further north on Smith St). It now has the typical notice in the window about defaulting on the lease. And as with Ibla Cucina, it’s Instagram account has been deleted.
Clearly the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy does not work well for cafes. It takes time for an audience to develop, unless you’re lucky for the instahype to convert into sustained appeal. You need cash in reserve because when you first open you’ll be trading at a loss. It’s not difficult to work this shit out. So why are there so many failures?