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Letters to Editor

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 Can HLR Residents SAVE the Fore Seasons? Do we have the customer base?

What is wrong with the Fore Seasons...................Nothing. It is not the food, not the prices, not the service and not the décor.

HLR is predominately made up of retirement age residents. We have approximately 1700 homes here and approximately 3500 residents. There is no breakdown on how many are full time verses week-enders. However, let us say for discussion 10% or 350 are weekenders and 3150 are full time and let us say most of us are retired. These 3000+ people are the backbone of your customer base. Being retired means, for the most part, we are on fixed incomes. When I think about going out to eat, I consciously think about when was the last time we went and how much did we spend.

As I sit here writing this letter I am thinking about my neighbors and friends around the Ranch. What comes to mind is how few eat out regularly, especially in the evening. The Fore Seasons is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings and at noon on Sunday, about 18 hours a week. We have friends that are on special diets, prefer to eat at home, do not want to take the time or energy to get ready to go out in the evening, and just plain don't eat out that much. In addition, some are not able to drive at night.

To the person/s that ask me how I justify driving to Tyler or Longview to eat out..... I DO NOT! If I eat in Tyler or other places, it is usually lunch, which is cheaper than dinner, AND is in conjunction with a doctor's appointment or shopping trip but in our house it is still considered "going out to eat" and counts towards the number of times we can afford to eat out. We have never made a special trip to Tyler or Longview just to eat. Besides, there are other places to eat that are not as far as 60-70 miles away... In addition, consider this as well.....if you are going out for lunch (or dinner on Monday or Tuesday) the Fore Seasons is not an option.

Trying to rationalize eating at the Fore Seasons by using government mileage cost figures for calculations to Tyler or other distant eateries is not the concern. However, the government recognizes three categories for expense mileage, 1) necessary for business @ $0.485 mi., 2) medical or moving @ $0.20 mi., 3) charitable work @ $0.14 mi. The highest figure includes the expenses associated with owning and operating a vehicle. The other figures are based on the fact you already own a personal vehicle. Therefore, I hope this answers the question and comments I have heard about what it cost to drive outside the Ranch to eat. To those that do drive off the Ranch, the additional expense is evidently not a factor...

I do not know what percentage of HLR fulltime residents eat at the Fore Seasons. I have asked but the figure is unknown to management. Are HLR residents purposely avoiding the Fore Seasons? I do not think so or at the least, not to the extent that it would make a major difference in sales to the restaurant [see below]. We have a customer base that just does not eat out that much in the evening. We are on fixed incomes and eating out is a luxury, not a necessity. As another reader pointed out, we simply did not do our homework before we built the Fore Seasons. WE DO NOT HAVE THE CUSTOMER BASE TO JUSTIFY THE RESTAURANT and the sooner we recognize that and close the restaurant the better off we will be....

Here are some figures for you to consider in regard to the Fore Seasons...We lost $36,000 in August and $237,000 year to date. Through August 2007, we have had roughly $350,000 in sales. Our sales would have needed to be about $850,000 to break-even, 2½ times better than they were. To generate $850,000 in sales we need over 3500 people, each spending about $30 a month, every month, at the Fore Seasons. Divide it any way you want to....more people less spending ....more spending less people. Can we reduce expenses and increase revenues to arrive at a break-even point or even come close? I do not think we can!

Are we going to sit idly by and watch "OUR" restaurant drain all OUR Initiation Fees, all OUR Road Assessment Fees, and some other revenues month after month and year after year just so a minority of uninformed people can say "it can be a fun experience"? Be open minded enough to look farther than the dinner plate in front of you....look at the facts and figures. It takes a larger population base than we have and a more diverse group than we have to make a restaurant successful in this area!

Regardless of how you feel about the Fore Seasons, whether you are content with the losses or if you are fed up (no pun intended), you need to advise HLR Management and our "B" Board. I have suggested that we vote on whether or not we want to continue to pay these losses or shut the restaurant down. To date there has been no reply to that suggestion. I urge each of you to contact HLR Management and the "B" Board, their personal e-mail addresses are listed on the HLR web site, www.hollylakeranch.com, or their phone numbers are in the directory.



Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 14:40  

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