VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Business & Economics POSTED ON: 6/13/2010
Consumers have cut back on dining out during the recession, and that's meant about a 5 percent revenue decline for Pals Cabin, a moderately priced restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. [...] that original 1932 eatery wasn't a restaurant - it was just a hot dog stand.
Lessons Learned began selling charcoal grilled steaks ‘You’ve got to analyze every expense’ for 15 cents.” Being a third-generation restau- rateur “gives you the determination Coleslaw serves as a business reminder about paring needless spending to survive during the recession and the grit that you can survive, but you have to be willing to do what it BY BETH FITZGERALD assumption that we don’t know when on payroll. they’re a far cry from the Great takes to survive,” Horn said. “Cutting AS MARTY HORN looked to cut that will be.” He’s also been able to save Depression, when two “pals” — expenses while still giving customers expenses at his West Orange restau- Labor is Pals’ biggest expense, $30,000 a year on health insurance by Horn’s grandfather, Martin Horn, great value and great service in a rant, Pals Cabin, he spent a lot of “so we looked at every employee on talking with each employee to make and his partner, Roy Sales — opened friendly environment — that is what time in the kitchen, closely examin- our payroll and every hour they sure they were properly covered. For Pals Cabin at the corner of Prospect my grandfather was doing in 1932, ing the workflow — and he got to worked, to make sure we’re being as Steven J. Dundas thinking about coleslaw. productive as possible,” Horn said. “We had always made coleslaw Shifts were rearranged to put from scratch, shredding the cabbage more workers on between 5 and 9 and the carrots and then mixing it p.m., when Pals does the majority of with our recipe for the dressing,” its business. Overtime was eliminat- Horn said. All that chopping and ed, and Horn laid off several employ- shredding meant a kitchen worker ees — something he clearly didn’t was spending an hour and a half on a want to do, but “we had to make sure batch of coleslaw. our business was profitable at a lower So Horn began buying preshred- level of sales.” ded cabbage and carrots, cutting The coleslaw changes meant coleslaw prep to 15 minutes. Even Pals then needed one less prep though preshredded is pricier than cook in the kitchen. That employee cabbage by the head, overall expens- now sets up the whole salad station es are now lower. “We redesigned and the salad person, “who used to about a dozen recipes” to cut down start at 10 a.m., can now come in at on kitchen labor, Horn said. noon, when the lunch business is Consumers have cut back on heating up.” dining out during the recession, and By driving down expenses in that’s meant about a 5 percent rev- line with lower revenues, “if and enue decline for Pals Cabin, a moder- when sales improve, we will already ately priced restaurant that serves be making money,” Horn said. “As breakfast, lunch and dinner. So Horn long as we can make money now, at has taken his sharpest paring knife to this level, we will stay in business. But the restaurant’s budget, trimming restaurants that can’t cut expenses needless spending in ways that are may be out of business.” invisible to his patrons. The Horn family owns Pals “You’ve got to analyze every Cabin and Mayfair Farms, a restau- expense” if you want to maintain a rant and banquet hall also in West good business during a bad econo- Orange. The two facilities have my, said Horn, who runs the restau- about 180 employees, so payroll rant with his three brothers. “When processing is a major expense. For Brothers Marty, left, and Peter Horn are third-generation owners of family-owned Pals Cabin restaurant in West Orange. will this roller coaster end? We’re 30 years, the company had used the operating our restaurant on the same payroll-processing firm; by example, Horn discovered that one and Eagle Rock avenues, where the when he was just selling hot dogs switching companies, Horn said the employee was still getting the
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