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July 2, 2013 - 10:59pm

Survey hopes to discover why people leave Genesee County to eat out

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown.

Press release:

Why do you leave Genesee County to eat? That’s exactly what the Restaurant Creativity Advocates want to find out. In response to sales leakage reports provided by W-ZHA and The Community Land Use & Economics Group, a brief survey was developed for area residents to explain their dining and travel habits. The survey is available now through July 12th online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N6SCRMV.

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates is a local group formed by representatives of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee Community College’s The BEST Center, Batavia Development Corporation, downtown's Business Improvement District and Senior Corp of Retired Executives. This group voluntarily organized to research and improve the local dining options throughout the county.

“We gathered in response to two recent reports that suggest area residents spend more than $12.4 million annually to eat and drink at restaurants beyond our County borders,” stated Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation. “We want to understand why people leave the County to dine-out. Ultimately, we want to do what we can to try to ensure more dining dollars stay local.”

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates began discussion early February 2013. Since then, they conducted their own local restaurant assessment facilitated by Lina LaMattina, director of The BEST Center.

“We began by asking team members to finish the open-ended question, wouldn’t it be great if...,” LaMattina said. “Allowing this cross-functional team to begin to consider the possibilities open to the County helped the group to generate some big picture thinking, think creatively, and develop the foundation for some real conversation with stakeholders without giving way to the  traditional stumbling blocks typically encountered when dealing with significant challenges,” LaMattina added.

The group categorized more than 100 committee responses and found that six areas of focus could potentially improve the local restaurant scene. Upon completion of the customer survey, the group will share all results with the local restaurateurs in hopes of devising an action plan to reduce the sales leakage.

The restaurant customer survey is brief, but it does end with the same valuable question “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”

The Chamber of Commerce has mailed a separate restaurant owner survey directly to their listing of 126 existing restaurants in Genesee County. That survey will also be complete at the end of next week.

Beth Kinsley
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I come to Genesee County to eat. You don't know what you have until you don't have it. Try to get a decent pizza in Churchville.

Bob Heininger
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I leave the County daily to earn income, what decent manufacturing jobs used to be here flew the coop a long time ago. However, we (my wife and I) dine exclusively here (purposefully avoiding chain restaurants) unless we're traveling out of the area. Same with shopping, and for no other reason than we strongly believe in spending our money in the community in which we live.

To the people and organizations studying why money is leaving the County, you need to look no further than the total lack of good paying jobs here. Fix that and many things will right themselves on their own. If these organizations really need to dig any deeper than lack of decent jobs in Genesee County to justify their existence, they probably shouldn't exist to begin with.

John Roach
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I only go out of the area to eat if I am going out for some other reason also. Otherwise, I prefer to eat around Batavia.

Fred GUNDELL
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Woooeeee!!! I could not agree more with Bob. I have said the same thing many, many times here on the Batavian. My working days are over. The population is aging as younger folks leave the area for jobs. We travel outside Genesee County to eat because the restaurants we really enjoy are not here. Alex's is OK as is Red Osier. But OK does not draw us. Orazio's in Clarence is our Best stop. Also coincidentally there are no(Zero) restaurants in Genesee County that are on or use Restaurants.com. We like their discounts and use them often.

We will never get those good paying jobs unless we do something about the Taxes, and high overhead regulations in NY..

Howard B. Owens
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Fred, join The Batavian Club and you'll get discounts (gift certificates) to several local restaurants. We also sell gift certificates through Deal of the Day to several local restaurants. There's no need for restaurants.com to offer you discounts for local restaurants. We have them right here.

One of the great blessings of Genesee County is all the great local restaurants.

bud prevost
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I've been wishing we had a legit Italian place in Genesee County. I miss the old Casino restaurant, before it was destroyed by its last owner.
.

Raymond Richardson
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Maybe people are tired of the corporate owned chain restaurants, and the tired, old lacking local diners.

Tammy Way
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its just nice to have a change of scenery and change of taste -- i come to batavia once on a while to eat

Rich Martin
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First let me say that there is a big difference between dining and eating out. There is no place of any quality to dine out in the local area. Yes, there a quite a few places to eat out but what are your choices? Burgers and sandwiches for the most part. The pizzarias around here lack any kind of consistancy. It's a crap shoot every time you order one. (no pun intended) As for dining, there isn't a place here I can asign at least one star. Dining out to me is an event. I have dined in four and five star restaurants in several large cities around the country, the food is incredible, but these are few and far between and they are located where the population can support them. What seems to be the notion around here is good food is equated to quantity. When people leave stuffed they believe they got their monies worth. Flavor and presentation are inconsequential. A diner, a pub, a pizza shop, the chain eateries, they have a purpose, they pedal sustanance, thats it. And that's what people here require. There are not a lot of people that can or will drop a hundred or two for a gormet meal. The are no restaurants of that caliber for that very reason. They would go broke around here. OK, I know this will probably piss off a few but I can't complete this rant without mentioning the service side of restaurants. Please Mr/Mrs. Restaurant ownerr,TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE!! Good service -no exceptional service, will overshadow a so-so dish and will last longer in a customers mind than that overdone steak you sent out. Hey servers, you enjoy generous tips..then earn them!! All I and most patrons want is quality food and service to satisfy the palette. I know where to find gormet food, I don't want gormet food everyday. A clean restaurant, attentive wait staff and food worth eating is not too much to ask for for the prices you want us to pay.

Fred GUNDELL
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Howard, Thanks for the info, I will consider it. My point was not the coupon, just the fact that not one restaurant in this county uses Restaurants.com. Not one. Rochester has six pages, as does Buffalo. I agree with the other writers, we lack a good to excellent restaurant. Just go to Orazio's in Clarence once. They make you feel so welcome that you can't wait to leave so you can go back. It is Italian, with other stuff as well. On Mondays they have all you can eat clams for 20.00. They mean it too. When you near the end of your serving, the waiter or waitress asks if you are ready for your next plate. You just don't get that hospitality here. Not one restaurant in this county would rate over 2 stars.

Howard B. Owens
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Fred, it's been a couple of years since I talked to local restaurant owners about restaurant.com, but when I did, they generally expressed that the site didn't meet their promotional needs. They saw no reason to participate. I frankly don't see why that would be an important criteria to you. It's just another national web site and doesn't have any impact locally. The fact that our local restaurants don't participate isn't a poor reflection on the restaurants as you seem to imply. It just means there is no reason for our local restaurants to participate.

We have a couple dozen top-notch restaurants in Genesee County with great food and great service. I see no reason that anybody should be dissatisfied with the local restaurants. I've long been a person to prefer locally owned restaurants over chains and when I was studying Batavia as a possible business location one thing that really stood out to me was the dominance of locally owned restaurants and lack of chains. I love that aspect of Genesee County and would find it greatly disheartening if it ever changed. Since moving here, I have had a chance, of course, to sample all of the restaurants and find no locally owned restaurant that is overpriced for what you get, offers poor quality food or poor service. They're all very good to outstanding in my book.

kevin kretschmer
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I agree wholeheartedly about "Orazio's", a truly wonderful dining experience. "La Bella Sicila" in Cheektowaga has amazing Italian food as well but it's a different dining experience all together, more of a local neighborhood place. There are a couple of other great eateries out that way. "Kennedy's Cove" has some of the best steaks you'll find anywhere and if you like German food, "Prozit" is THE place to go. I still miss "Old Heidelberg", get sorta sad any time I drive by the place, which is fairly frequently.

becky lefevre
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Would love some fresh, organic, maybe even locally sourced food. That's easy to find in Rochester or Buffalo but not here.

Ken Rumble
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My wife and I dine out or eat in Batavia all the time. Terry Hills is wonderful for a great experience and excellent food. Sunny's, Alex's are also tops on our list. The Clubhouse at Batavia Downs when the horses are running is excellent. Grandstands at the Casino is very good. Got to love the Pok-A-Dot for beef on wick or a dog. Bourbon & Burgers, O'Lacy's, Sportos. Batavia is blessed with many locally owned excellent places where the owner is usually on premise. We have been around the country and Batavia truly has an advantage in this department.

Mark Brudz
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My wife and I also dine out frequently in Batavia, there is not a local restaurant that we do not visit at least a year, some weekly, some monthly. on occasion we Dine out in Buffalo or Rochester, but that usually accompanies a trip to those areas for something else or the occasional change of pace.

Genesee county is not lacking at all as far as dining goes

C. M. Barons
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Going out to eat (for me) is PART of an evening. I don't drive to a restaurant, eat and go home. I want some entertainment afterwards. Also, I'm a vegetarian; none of this apologetic offering of salad or side-dish. I want a vegetarian meal. I don't eat at chain restaurants, and I don't abide the j'adoube part-and-parcel to mitigating an acorpous menu. I'm not slamming Batavia's choices in cuisine. Eat what/where you want. If Batavia's commercial designers want to capture the crowd that eats elsewhere, a much larger picture needs to be envisioned. Food is only part of the formula. ...And, no, a casino won't improve the scenario. Better idea: turn the former Mancuso theater into a nightclub.

Ed Hartgrove
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C.M.:
You can get the good food & (sometimes excellent) entertainment right in Batavia. But then, where I'm talking about isn't a "show up at a specified time and see a show" place.

But, if you're a 'regular', you won't go too many times between 'shows'.

I am, of course, talking about The Pok-A-Dot. :)

john pocock
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Now that Delavans has closed, the only good dining spot in my opinion is the Valhalla in Bergen N.Y. Good food and low prices for adult beverages

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