• September 17, 2021
 Dan’s Food for Thought: Competition or All for one, one for all?

Dan’s Food for Thought: Competition or All for one, one for all?

Business in general is hard! It is dog-eat-dog! Me vs You! The general consensus is competition is bad for business! In the food world, it is unfortunately no different.

Feuds run rampant between operators, former employers and associates, Sous Chef’s having the courage to go it alone leaving the EC
behind to fend for themselves. It is U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi…straight up nasty.

Specifically, here in Chucotown, there is an unspoken undertone of all for me, none for you!

But, why does it have to be this way?? Why can’t we all just get along? Why you gotta be so rude, don’t you know I’m human too?

This is where I throw in a shameless plug for the amazing things that have happened in our community, since the pandemic caused so much havoc in our lives. Having worked for many national brands, I witnessed first hand the decimation that can occur when a national brand moves into and area and pushes out the local business owners.

Competition is stiff, and 99.99% of the time, local operators cannot compete with the bankroll a national brand carries in their coffers. When the pandemic happened, local places were dying on a limb, while every national fast-food chain had a line around the
corner!

As an experimental project, I started a Facebook Group to try and help support local food businesses; and it absolutely took off into an amazing and monumental organism and organization. One and a half years on, and Texas Restaurants and Food Trucks – El Paso’s membership exceeds 24,000, of which easily 450-500 businesses are represented.

The group grew into many other ‘sister’ groups including: 6 other groups throughout the state of the same name with a different city attached, a service industry job posting/seeking group, a restaurant operators support group, and THRIVE-915! Food, Music,
Beer, Festival and Car Show set to happen at Ascarate Park, in June of 2022.

Attached to the festival are a set of Speed Networking Business Mixers occurring monthly at different venues throughout the county. The mixers feature a key note speaker, appetizers, and other eats and treats, your seat, and your first round for a reasonable $15.

Yes, there is comradery, yes there is laughter and joking, and a great time by all; but what makes these mixers different, is everyone there
is not as interested in their own business succeeding as they are in everyone else’s. We have created a community of people who have this crazy thought that there is enough at the table for everyone to eat, and we don’t need to be negative Nancy’s all the time to get things done. (Sorry Nancy.)

This collective of owners and operators are shifting the culture of what it means to be in business, and it is imperative that more people catch on to the same ideals. El Paso deserves better, and if the those at the top won’t make it happen, then the movers, shakers, and earth quakers at the bottom will.

When the financial collapse of 2008 happened, the ‘Big 3’ Auto manufacturing companies in the US went before a congressional hearing, begging to be saved. The CEOs of GM and Chrysler both swore they would adhere to ludicrous salary cuts on themselves if the government would save their company.

The CEO of Ford refused. When asked why? He stated ‘We don’t need to be bailed out; we are doing just fine.’ To which the bewildered committee member asked, ‘Then why are you here?’ The answer was simple, yet astounding. He said (paraphrasing)

‘Ford Motor Company doesn’t need to be bailed out. We have multiple brands under our umbrella, and we are selling them off piece by piece as necessary to ensure operations within the core Ford Motor Company are unphased. However, the companies that supply the parts for my vehicles; also supply parts to my competitors. If my competition goes under, my parts supplier goes under with them. If my parts supplier goes under, and I cannot source parts; I will go under as well. We don’t need to be saved. Save them!’

This is the perfect example of the importance for us to all stand united in business; because divided, none of us has enough to eat.

If you would like to experience the light at the end of the tunnel, and join a group of great people who only have YOUR best interest at heart, follow the festival page on FB and IG at @thrive915foodfest for updates.

The next scheduled mixers and speakers are:

  • 9/14 Three Missions Brewery in Socorro
  • 10/19 1922 Cocktail Bar Downtown
  • 11/16 Rockhouse Dive Bar Kitchen Venue on Montana

The bottom line is this folks, this doesn’t have to be as challenging as some make it out to be. There are resources, groups, and other means of help to get you the answers and direction you need.

Join us at the next mixer and learn, grow, THRIVE! Let’s not just Survive El Paso! LET’S THRIVE-915!

NOW GO FIND SOMETHING LOCAL AND PUT IT IN YOUR BELLY!

Author: Dan Morales

Morales is a local restaurateur vested in the local community. Creating, planning and operating Texas Restaurant and Food Trucks Groups. Owner and Principal Operator of THRIVE-915! Food, Music, Beer, Festival and Car Show. President and Chief Executive Officer of LENX Food & Beverage Consulting Network, LLC ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Exam-Proctor, TABC Certified Server, and Nationally Accredited Food Manager  “Together, we can make a difference!” -DM

To read previous columns, click here.

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