August 8, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Kosher Restaurants is Really the Rise

I am one of those who is a fervent observer of the kosher restaurant scene. I follow Elan Kornblum’s regular updates and covet his annual Kosher Restaurant Guide, which I use as my bible year-round. I also monitor the latest developments of openings and closings, covered by Koshertopia. Every so often, I am asked why a restaurant closed and some even use it as proof that the kosher market is not as strong as it is made out to be. But the kosher restaurant failure rate appears to be significantly lower than the rate for non-kosher restaurants, which many put at 90%. Even if the general business failure rate is used, it is still below the 60%, which seems to indicate that the failures are not at all due to the lack of support by kosher consumers, but rather because of other factors, such as an ill-conceived plan, poor product, or failed management.

I would rather like to focus on the positive and that is the number of new restaurants that opened in the last two years that have made the grade in terms of quality food, service and ambience. I used to have to travel to Manhattan for a good meal at a good restaurant, but today there are some great choices in Brooklyn. My restaurant sources tell me that some of the better kosher restaurants in town are even attracting non-traditional kosher consumers. So despite, what appears to be a revolving door scene for kosher restaurants, I chose to see the glass as “half-full.”