BARcelona could close

December 28, 2007
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BARcelona TapasA manager at the downtown tapas restaurant tells Property Lines the operation is in trouble and could soon close. Owner Frank Schmitz, of St. Louis, recently bought out his partner in the restaurant and is having cash troubles. He's also looking for a new chef and general manager. The problem apparently isn't from a lack of interest, since the restaurant did more than $1 million in sales in about six months. But the restaurant has continued to keep its large staff on hand even as winter sales have slowed without outdoor dining. Hat tip to Feed Me/Drink Me.
  • Something doesn't make sense. If theh owner is strapped for cash, why in the hell did he buy the place? If this place made a million bucks in half a year, then where is it? Doesn't make sense at all.
  • Ok, so cut your staff in half? This isn't brain surgery. The customers are there, the food is great. The service obviously needs a bit of improvement, but I don't see a need to actually close.

    This just sounds like poor management.. it's too bad.
  • That would suck...BARcelona has great food. The answer seems obvious as stated in the previous comment. What is the real problem here?
  • That is too bad- we should try to stop in. We went three times this summer and never got a table because the wait was more than 45 minutes; very crowded. If it's slower, we should get in there before they close.
  • I agree Steph. We all need to support this great restaurant that took a chance on this part of Indy!
  • Oh well...
  • This wasn't a big chance here, a corner spot next to a Indy version of high rises. If they cant make it work with $1mil+ in revenue in six months than this is not a restaurant worth fighting for much less if the service is bad. They did the heavy lifting(remodeling the space) now let someone elese have the spot if they don't care to stay
  • NO!!!! TAPAS can not eave. I love that place. It is something different to eat at during lunch, and one of just a few places to eat outside in a our wonderful spring weather. Everyone should go and have lunch there at least once in the next two weeks. Let them know that they shouldn't leave.

    They do have a lot of staff, two people manning the door? Why, you just need one, or just a watchful wait staff to answer. Or have the Manager take the helm of the hostess so he can also keep an eye on the dining room. UGGHH I hate it when managers are short-sighted. STAY OPEN! If this place closes, it won't be good for India Garden or for the possibility of any other type of cultural or ethnic type restaraunt to make it in Downtown Indy.
  • Clearly, the management staff needs to revaluate the situation. When the restaurant is slow it should be staffed at a minimum and vice versa during peak times. I have only been to BARcelona two times and my service was extremely poor both times. A key factor the management needs to stress to their wait staff is that even if you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to customer interaction they should make something up. About 75% of the entire dining experience comes from the interaction between you and your waiter/waitress and the rest of the staff and 25% comes from the actual quality of the food. When you are having an incredible dinner with friends the food could actually not even be that great but you’re having an amazing time and that’s what you will remember. Kick it up BARcelona, you do it, let’s get a sense of urgency.
  • This place must be poorly managed.... I was in there three weeks ago on a Friday night and it was packed, we had to sit at the bar....

    The location will only serve it better once the cultural trail is completed, it is about one block off the corner of Alabama and Ohio.
  • I've had dinner there three times... always good service, always great food. The place was packed, too. It's awfully expensive ($120 for two, with a bottle of wine, on average, I'd bet), but if the place is routinely packed...
  • Rule #1 of small business: cash (working capital) is king.

    Rule #2: when cash (working capital) is short, it's tough to cut your way to profitability and some business owners delay action.

    Rule #3: the longer the cash shortage lingers, the worse things get.

    Rule #4: these conditions can be exclusive of product, quality, and service. When they are, the owner remains optimistic right up to the day s/he turns the key in the door for the last time and hands it to his/her banker.
  • If all else fails, it sounds like a good investment opportunity for someone with better management skills.
  • Sounds like some one is RIDING THE WHITE HORSE
  • The real problem at Barcelona is as follows:
    Over paid wannabe management,
    lazy servers with good looks and lack of food knowledge,
    An owner with no common sense in running a restuarant,
    An excellent kitchen staff, thats overworked and underpaid.
    And lastly an executive chef thats constantly pushed around and taken for granted.
    any fool can solve this problem but sadly it just might be too late.
    My advice to the few good talents at Barcelona is to start looking around. I know this industry is always looking for great talented hardworking loyal people.
    Go Tapas !
  • Thank you all for your comments and concerns. Let me assure everyone that we are NOT about to close, we do NOT have cash flow problems ( anymore than any other business) and are working hard on training our staff in all aspects. I am very proud of my current management team and Corporate Executive Chef, David. I try to treat everyone on my team with the same respect and loyalty, but you just can't win them all all of the time
    The initial interview given by a manager was not authorized by myself or former partner Mike Johnson and I can only assume it was the manager? who has since left the company's employment.
    I would like to thank Indianapolis for supporting BARcelona Tapas and have no regrets expanding our already successful operation here.
    The city officials, fire department, health department etc have been very cooperative and truly helped make this possible.
    The ONLY unfortunate financial loss were the 3 original Andy Warhol Pictures stolen right off the entrance wall on Christmas eve morning. So if anyone finds them, there will be FREE TAPAS FOR LIFE!
    We will be here for a very long time and appreciate any personal comments directly to my email address:

  • Thank you Frank for the great news!!!
  • Well that's good news. We'll still make an effort to stop in sometime soon. Maybe we can figure out the trick to avoid the crowds.
  • This is unfortunate. HOWERVER, this restaurant has been fully embraced by the downtown residents, so it is not the fault of the patrons.
  • IKEA? :)
  • Frank,

    If you had some kick-ass Sangria, Barcelona would rock!

  • I agree DJ, the food at Barcelona is pretty good, but the sangria is subpar.
  • While I agree the sangria could be better; something I've noticed is a big difference in an individually ordered glass versus getting a pitcher. The glass is -very- watered down. When ordering a pitcher, filled glasses are also brought, which are terrible. Upon refilling, however, it completely turns around (if you drink faster than the ice melting :)...
  • I LOVE BARcelona, and frequently visited the Clayton location when I lived in STL. I now live in Indianapolis, and am happy they've expanded to our fair city.

    The food is great, but the sangria has always sucked. The common refrain heard in STL was to definitely go to BARcelona, but skip the sangria.

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