baology: Get Over the Brick Wall
12 years ago, I entered the restaurant industry armed with the dream of opening a restaurant in the future that would honor the cultural and culinary heritage of my family. The generosity and kindness of many along the way, coupled with the support of friends & family allowed us to officially open the doors of baology on 6/19/17. We were so excited to share our love of good food, responsible sourcing, and cooking and so thankful for the strong and enthusiastic welcome we received from this community. I am proud that we can showcase the bounty and talents of a culture 7,000 miles away while supporting the great work of local farmers right here in our region.
On June 19th of this year, we celebrated our first anniversary. Today, we continue to serve well-sourced, affordable, and delicious food. Our current business is strong; we are viable and growing. We made it through our first year (phew!) but we are still battling the shadow of several challenges that I would like to share with you today:
- Only 32 days after our grand opening, on 7/21/17, the restaurant suffered a massive flooding/water catastrophe as a result of an arsonist who set a series of 6 arson fires within 3 weeks in the building baology is located.
- 9/1/17, with less than 1 business day's notice, we were informed that the front sidewalk of the entire building/block would be undergoing massive repairs for the months of September, October, and November. With no time and ability to inform our guests or plan accordingly for the situation with our staff, we saw a devastating drop of 45%+ in our sales over this period.
- 10/25 through 10/29/17 due to a mishandled repair performed by the building, we were forced to close for 5 days.
The lawyer fees, the expert fees, ongoing repairs, insurance headaches, and the costs of carrying this business through this extraordinarily difficult first year have taken their toll on us. We are launching this campaign, "baology: Get Over The Brick Wall," to put these trials behind us and move strongly into year two. Today, I am asking you for your help and support.
For those of you who know me, you know how incredibly difficult this is for me to do. I thought that when I opened this business, that I had planned properly - spent 10 years paying my dues in the industry, diligently worked hard to learn the business, built a contingency fund that would last us for our first full year of business - never did I imagine we would face these types of disasters and so many of them within a month of opening.
Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the consequences of these massive setbacks and despite our planning (contingency and savings), I find myself in a embarrassing and shameful position - we need your help.
But, this is our dream and we believe in it. As Randy Pausch said, "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough."
This past year has been our brick wall. I hope you will consider contributing to our "Get Over the Brick Wall" campaign and allow baology to fully spread its wings.
For those of you who choose to contribute, we'd like to offer these items as a thank you for your generosity:
$25 - A bottle of our housemade hot sauce
$50 - One of our new baology T-shirts
$100 - Private potsticker making class for 2
$250 - Private potsticker making class for 6 people
$400 - Private zong zi making class for up to 8 people
$1,250 - Private 5-course dinner (menu to be created in consultation with guests) for up to 8 people at baology or at private home (Saturday or Sunday evening)
$2,500 - Private 4-hour event at baology - up to 22 people seated, up to 30 standing
I have never been more confident in the future of our industry in Philadelphia and baology will absolutely be a strong contributor and player in it. Even after all that we have had to face, we have expanded hours, added menu items, earned accolades, gained loyal regulars, and deepened our relationship with the local community. We are continuing to source from quality farms and buy from farmers who have committed their lives to humane, ethical, and environmentally conscious treatment of our Earth, soil, and animals.
Andy and I care deeply and passionately about what we are building - a business that supports its people and community. We care about what we are building -- because it matters. We are all in for baology.
I hope you are too and can contribute to this campaign. Thank you for your time.