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Fri, Aug. 23

Seeking help: Restaurant owner willing to turn to competitors

People like Mike Paper can use a little help these days.

Paper, owner of Larry & Hy's Bare Bones BBQ in Prescott and Pearl's Place BBQ in Prescott Valley, says business is below 2008 numbers.

"I don't know what to do anymore," he said. "I'm doing things I've never done before just to get people in the door."

Paper says he's trying different things including mixing up his marketing efforts and offering discounts.

Paper and other restaurant owners are facing lean times these days as people are cutting back on dining out.

Food prices aren't getting cheaper, discounts last only so long and cutting labor often hurts service.

"Everything feeds off each other," he said.

Standing in the kitchen of his Whiskey Row business just before the Monday lunch rush, Paper says he's wanted to get restaurant owners together to help each other for years.

The bad economy and a recent chat with Brian Harron might turn that idea into reality.

Paper and Harron are talking about creating a restaurant and bar association.

"We're all in competition together, but we're all in the same boat," Paper said.

Paper says restaurant owners can get together, have some coffee and kick some thoughts around.

"If you can get one good idea out of a group of 30 that we can all benefit from, then we've accomplished something," he said.

Harron is a former restaurant owner who is now restaurant and bar specialist with Sunbelt Business Brokers in Prescott.

Harron said he recently sent out e-mails to about 50 restaurant owners throughout western Yavapai County about forming the association.

With more than 40 years experience in the restaurant arena, Harron says he formerly ran the National Restaurant Association.

"I know how valuable this stuff is and I think it is the perfect time to be doing something like this," he said.

For information, call Harron at 541-0890.

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