The story behind the decline of Le Cigare Volant

April 15, 2013

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For awhile, there was a restaurant in Santa Cruz unlike most others around here. It was unique, it was cool, it was delicious.

I was a huge fan of Le Cigare Volant while it lasted and was quite sad to have it close in December.

A few weeks ago, owner Randall Grahm — the impresario behind Bonny Doon Vineyards — posted a lengthy explanation of what happened with the restaurant and why it ultimately failed. It’s remarkably refreshing to have such honest insight.

Alas, we didn’t really have much in the way of a management team at that point. The restaurant really was neither big enough nor was really doing the volume (at reasonably profitable margins) to afford a manager. Properly, this might have been the responsibility of the owner, at least at the scale at which we were operating. Needless to say, this was not really my thing, given the fact that I had no experience at all in the restaurant business, nor possessed a single skill that was appropriate for the position.(This is also not considering the fact that I already had one full-time job.) The food was truly magnificent—vibrant and inventive, and the food costs were staggeringly out of control.

Read the entire piece here. 



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