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LaFemina on BYO'ing: first 5 months a 'cakewalk'

The Bruniblog is at its best when Mr. Bruni asks the right questions and capitalizes on restaurateurs' general willingness to spend as long talking to the high-reviewer in the land as said high-reviewer wishes. During a recent conversation with John LaFemina, who owns Apizz and The Orchard and has a significant stake in Peasant, Frank scored some interesting candid thoughts and stats on what's it's like to spend a year trying to get a liquor license. (Recall that The Orchard debuted BYO and stayed as such for almost a year.)

By the numbers, LaFemina says it cost him roughly $9,600 in license-related legal fees ($8,600, plus $1,000 for his lawyer in food); during its year as a BYO, an average Saturday night gross take was $6K. Now it's $12K. Instead of a customer exodus, crowds have remained and his per customer average has gone from $35 to $65. This math isn't rocket science, of course, and we know booze equals margin, but to hear LaFemina tell the story, you'd think anyone can do it. Do click through for the full story and to see an actual NY restaurateur use the word 'cakewalk' in the context of keeping a restaurant open.
· Bottoms Up and the Bottom Line [Bruniblog]
· A Man and His Meatballs [~E~]